So, as I am sure you are aware, Trolls live on the internet. In real life they may be miled manner millies or that annoying barista at Starbucks or your boss at work. You may or not suspect that they are internet trolls but more then likely you do because it is hard to hide the underlying bully mentality that appears to drive them. I am sure people will say that it isn’t a bully mentality and on the surface it might not seem like it. But let’s look at what the Internet troll does, especially today in comments and then decide if it is bullying. I don’t think most internet trolls start out intending to be a troll or a bully but it usually manifests itself or mutates in that direction. I am sure that they start out wanting to make a snarky comment, that they were trying to emulate John Stewart, Stephen Colbert or some other comedic writer. At some point they get called on how rude, impolite and downright insulting a comment is and they hide behind the misused reply of “I am just being blunt / honest / real.” Maybe in their eyes they are, but in truth and reality they are not. Words matter. How you say something can change the meaning. Slowly, over time, they convince themselves that it is just people’s think skins and they feel vindicated with every like as if it is someone’s silent vote of approval. And it is, except more then likely it is another misguided troll or troll in the making, who more then likely is already headed down to live underneath the same bridge.
Most of the time, the problem comes down to communication. The transmitter sends the message (posts) and then the future Troll reads it and interprets it. Somewhere in the interpretation, one word or phrase sticks out and they seize on it. Then from there they formulate their snarky response without checking to make sure the interpretation was correct. That snarky response then creates a situation where it degrades to insults and name calling. I had a post this week do just that and the irony is that first a girl did it and I was able to just talk calmly and rationally to her. We had a conversation, reaching a point where we understood exactly what the idea was that the other was trying to posit. Then this guy comes along and begins to rant and call me a liar. When that doesn’t seem to raise my ire, he then begins to call me a liar, then an idiot and finally he intimates that I am a pedophile and trolling Instagram for kids. I replied by calling him out on it and calling him an idiot.
Remember how I said before that trolling was really bullying? His reason for doing this was that he either couldn’t formulate a cohesive response, as he kept babbling about totally unrelated stuff or he decided that just shaming me in to silence was a better methodology. Either way, once he called me a liar, without offering any proof, it became bullying. Once he accused me of trying to lure little kids with pictures of marijuana the bullying reached the intolerable point. I told him I wouldn’t delete his replies and I did not. He did. So here is the offending reply:
Then he did the best thing I could have wanted him to do, he confused “Your” and “You’re.”
So, I tried to counter the troll with humor and it just got worse. He proceeded to tell me that I was going to school to “literally” suck his dick. I then explained politely and calmly that he had broken the law and that his Kids comment was tantamount to libel. His response was that I insulted him first, libel is not an insult. Calling him an idiot is not libel and truly describes his behavior where he accused me of being a pedophile who used Marijuana to lure kids. This was the same idea they used to try and blacklist marijuana when I was a kid, with MTV playing DARE and Just Say No commercials that said “Get high, get laid, get pregnant” as if marijuana was some magical panty remover.
He deleted the comments where he told me he was 21 and apologized for the insults and libel but stood behind the other stuff he said. I wasn’t going to write this blog and out him, but then he did this and I felt like I had to. This would have bummed me out, except that I have met some truly awesome people via instagram and just when I least expect it, they make me realize how kewl they are.
This was the first person that I followed on Instagram when I joined who wasn’t a friend from Facebook. In that time, we have interacted and encourage each other. Someone trolled her yesterday and I left a comment about it and this was her response. It totally made all of this less horrible and reminded me of why I love social networking. She’s a cool chick and her website Coral Reefer 420 has a lot of information about medical marijuana and the legalization movement. Her Instagram feed contains lots of kewl pictures of her glass collection, accessories and weed porn. You should follow her at CoralReefer420 because she is so cool. I don’t usually do shout outs, nor do I pimp for likes or followers. In this case I am making an exception for such an awesome chick!