In recent times, ‘Trolling’ has become a part of the digital world. Becoming a part of many of our virtual identities.
These are actions that many of us wouldn’t even think of being a part of in the physical world. Yet seem normal in our virtual world and become part of our social identity.
A recent article in the Evening Standard by Benjamin Cohen highlights the trend of Trolls. In the article, the author discussed how many send sexually explicit pictures of themselves to strangers on social media.
The article in question highlights a growing consensus concerning how different we are on social media compared to our identities in the physical world. Highlighting the phenomena of our identity on social media as separate from our physical identities.
The article in question highlights a growing consensus concerning how different we are on social media compared to our identities in the physical world. Almost as if our identity on social media is separated from our physical identity.
The consequence, or lack thereof, is highlighted as the reason why many feel it is OK to participate in sharing naked pictures; The Twitter phenomenon, known as #NakedSunday.
Does the article note that the ‘porn troll’ in question sent the pictures from his Facebook account, which linked squarely to his real-world identity.
He could have shared the explicit picture with his work colleagues, friends and family. The damage in his physical interactions and well being could have been catastrophic. Yet the callous nonchalance of the troll’s actions outweighs their consequence.
When Identities Collide.
Psychologist Dr Elaine Kaske mirrors the remarks in the article, She states that, ‘When it comes to exposing yourself on the internet, you can do so immediately, and a large percentage of the time there may be no consequences.’ (Psychologist Dr Elaine Kasket)
What happens then when there are consequences? When the virtual and physical identities collide, being held accountable for your online actions offline.
The story of Brenda Leyland shows just how unmanageable it can become. Brenda Leyland ended her life, following her trolling of the Mccann’s on Twitter after being exposed by reporters of tabloid newspapers.
The sad story gives us a stark example of how our actions online seem so removed from our physical identities. Our identities have become as horrible, nasty and self-righteous as we desire. The shame elicited, in one case, caused at least one troll to end their lives in order to distance herself from the consequences of her actions.
Distancing herself from her problems as many of us do by living out our fantasies using our virtual identity online.