Trolling is ever-present on the internet, yet in the real world, you don’t find people. Trolling is a personal interest for me as I wrote my master dissertation on why people feel able to troll.
This is what I learnt:
Trolls are just like you and me
This changes when they are able to hide behind the anonymity of a computer.
It offers them the power to let your inner demons out.
Things that you wouldn’t even dream of saying to others in person becomes normal or even funny to do online.
The main reasons are a mix of anonymity, learned behaviour and a feeling of need.
The internet has become a safe space to let out our more negative and harder-to-deal with feelings.
All those stored up feelings, such as anger, frustration, resentment and greed don’t feel as scary to let out.
There is no remorse or judgment, which is what is scary in the real world – or the look on someone’s face for being mean.
All of those feelings are able to come out with no felt consequences.
But, what happens when you are held accountable for your actions online? Well, the unfortunate story of Brenda Leyland who committed suicide when confronted about her trolling activities is telling of just how different online personas are to the real-world.
Are you a troll?
For the trolls out there reading this blog, what I want to leave you with is to think about your actions. Think about why you get angry with someone online.
What are you trying to achieve?
If, however, you are being trolled, know that the anger and aggression are not really directed towards you. Trolls are frustrated and are using you to offset some of their feelings.
It doesn’t make it right but at least you know that it is not your fault. You have done nothing wrong. Disengage and soon they will get bored and move on.
Stay safe online.