Kelly Village TV and Trolls on the Internet

I rarely watch television these days.  This is mainly because it is difficult for me to engage with regular mainstream television programs.  But I am not alone as there is a huge shift away from television viewing towards the internet in particular.  One thing I particularly dislike about television is ads.  When I did have cable television, I ensured that we had a PVR / DVR, which meant that I never watched anything live.  Rather programs were recorded so that I could fast forward past commercials.  Now I confess that I am one of those that spend more and more hours each day in front of my laptop.  I must also confess that one of my favorite websites has to be YouTube and on YouTube, one of my favorite channels has to be Kelly Village TV.  Just do a YouTube search for ‘KellyVillageTV.’

I honestly do not remember how I stumbled across Kelly Village TV (KVTV), but it was in the run-up to the Red Bull Flugtag when there was a team from Kelly Village who documented their preparation for the event on YouTube.   But beyond this, they have around 50 video clips on various topics, including cooking, news stories, beach limes, the state of the economy, sporting events, etc.  It is the number 1 ‘TV Channel’ in Trinidad and Tobago.

KVTV is community media at its best and symbolizes the evolution taking place in the wider media landscape.  Although I spend more time outside of Trinidad than in, thanks to channels such as KVTV,  social media sites like Facebook, as well as 3 very vibrant BBM (Blackberry Messenger) groups to which I belong, I can keep my finger on the pulse of what is happening in Trinidad.  Unfortunately, however, the present State of Emergency has meant that certain Yahoo / Google groups and Facebook Pages have suspended activity for fear of contravening the law by being host to inappropriate comments by members.

The issue of inappropriate comments leads me to another issue – Trolls.  Most of us hate Trolls!  What are they?  Last November, a fascinating article was posted on the New York Times website that I circulated to some of my friends.   According to this article, Trolling is defined as posting inflammatory, derogatory, or provocative messages in public forums and is a problem as old as the Internet itself. However, its roots go much farther back.  Apparently, in the fourth century B.C., Plato touched upon anonymity and morality in his parable of Gyges’ ring.  That mythical ring gave its owner the power of invisibility, and Plato observed that even a habitually just man who possessed such a ring would become a thief, knowing that he could not be caught.  Morality, Plato argues, comes from full disclosure.  Without accountability for our actions, we would all behave unjustly.
FATCA Law Singapore

So the internet gives us the option of anonymity or invisibility.  It is unfortunate that there are those without the courage of conviction to stand by their views.  They believe they need to hide behind the cloak of invisibility to say something.  The biggest fiasco for the year was probably over the alleged identity of ‘Janice Thomas’, but every day we check online newspapers and see negative comments from readers hiding behind pseudonyms.

Some time ago, there was someone going by the name of Pierre Small who would make quite scathing remarks on the local tourism sector in the online media and on more than one occasion I was asked whether I was writing under the nom de plume of Pierre Small.  My response was always the same.  If I have something to say, I have never had a problem speaking up and under my own name.   For many reasons, others do not feel the same way.

According to the same New York Times article, psychological research has proven again and again that anonymity increases unethical behavior.  In the online world, which can offer total anonymity, the effect is even more pronounced and even ordinary, good people, can often change their behavior in radical ways.  There is a term for it: the online disinhibition effect.  Fortunately, many online communities are looking for ways to strike back.  Those well moderated ones like the Trinidadian political discussion group called ‘Politically Speaking’ on Facebook, are excellent at quickly identifying and kicking out Trolls.

We should continue to share our views, both online and offline, but in a respectful way.  My name is Derren Joseph and I love my country and my region.  Despite our challenges, I continue to have the audacity of hope in the future of this beloved land.

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