Internet Trolling: The New Craze

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How many times have you been sat at your laptop flicking through Twitter or Facebook and you read something that really annoys you? Maybe someone you went to school with is bragging about their amazing life, or a celebrity on Twitter is celebrating the fact that their new song has flown right up to the number one spot. How hard is it for you to stop yourself from replying that you think the song sounds like someone is being murdered in a recording studio, or from commenting that the said ex-school friend may now be rich, successful and happy, but they actually have a big spot on their nose..?

If temptation leads you down the wrong path then you could be following the yellow brick road to Troll-land: a densely populated town where no one smiles, compliments or laughs. Yes, Troll-land is a place where the whole population spends their day behind a computer screen, literally ‘trolling’ the internet for potential insults and where jealousy is the over-ridding emotion. Is that a place you would like to move to? No I didn’t think so.

The twenty-first century has brought us so many great things. We have mass communication in our pockets, we can pause and rewind live TV (a line admittedly straight out of an advert), and we have a wider range of music on our iPods to listen to: from classical to One Direction. Heck: we even hosted the Olympics. But alas, for some, this just doesn’t quite cut it.

Take Twitter user @Rileyy_69 for example; a young man who obviously chose the numbers in his username for overwhelming humour purposes. Instead of contacting the young diving hero Tom Daley to congratulate him on his fantastic Olympic performance, he Tweeted insults, including remarks about Tom’s late father. He caused outrage throughout the Twitter community, he was arrested, and he was faced with a barrage of abuse. But unfortunately the act of trolling is a form of bullying which doesn’t lead to a well-deserved punch; in fact @Rileyy_69 is back on Twitter enjoying his new, glorified reputation.

Bullying has occurred for centuries, and whereas it’s not to be condoned, there are set and established methods to deal with so-called ‘playground’ bullying. Cyber-bullying and trolling in particular, has no such grounds for punishment. The internet allows privatisation; it automatically places an impenetrable barrier between the bully and the victim – a screen which reflects the ease at which these trolls can reach high-flying celebrities - or even low-flying celebrities, and bombard them with garbage... In true mythical troll-under-the-bridge style.

Would people ever walk up to Gary Barlow and say disgusting things about his late daughter to his face? No.

Would @Rileyy_69 ever have insulted Tom Daley if the diver had been stood in front of him wearing his bronze medal? No.

And would you ever point out your friend’s huge spot when they’re sat opposite you in the pub going on about all their money and success? Well, yes – probably.

But that’s different. 

Jessica Baggaley

I make the incoherent coherent through punctuation, adjectives and irony.


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