When I was growing up, whenever I heard the word ‘troll,’ it was usually in the context of a fairy story or a song. Perhaps with the chorus, “Fall Dee Roll” or “Fee Fi Fo Fum.” Trolls were mythical, menacing creatures often vital to the hero’s story arc.
* Illustration by Jim Madsen
Sure, the colorful haired, jewel bellied toys from the 80’s come to mind too, but that’s a different story!
Trolls are a very real menace, and they are no longer mythical. They are lurking behind computer screens just waiting to send a nasty comment, tweet, post, etc. Trolls aren’t green and hairy and living under bridges. They are everyday people. People who think it’s ok to spread any hateful thought that pops into their head.
*Photo from PCmag.com
I love social media. I love tweeting and snapping and gramming and vining and periscoping and blogging and pinning and tubing…you get the picture. I love all of it. And I think the Internet is a powerful force for good. I just don’t think everyone uses it that way.
There’s a dark side…and not the fun one. There’s a cold, impersonal side where people attack instead of understand. Where one tweet can cause a maelstrom of hatred. Where people are no longer held accountable for the heinous things that are said.
You don’t have to look another person in the face if you just comment. You don’t have to see the hurt when you write “you should shut your mouth…you deserve to be raped…I hope you die.”
I guess I’m wondering how we stop the trolls? It’s not like we, the villagers, can take up our torches and go troll killing.
When trolls can get a hashtag like #BoycottStarWars trending…i sorta think the trolls are winning. And you know why they are boycotting? Because a black man and a woman are leads in the film. I wonder what century they are living in. I wonder what their mother’s would say. But most of all I wonder where to direct my proverbial torch.
*Photo from The Fans Been Hit
I can’t see the face of the person who on Twitter called me a phony and a fake and told me I didn’t deserve to speak.
I can’t see the face of the person on Instagram who wrote “you should be slapped in the face.”
I wish this was a post that had all the answers. I wish I knew what to do when the trolls come out. But I either snap back or cower in fear and I know neither is the correct response.
The best response to trolling goes to Alanah Pearce who did not sit back quietly and allow her abusers to win. She sent the hateful comments they made straight to their mothers. Read the full story HERE.
That may work for abusive teenagers, but how we do stop the grown adults who think this behavior is worse than ok…they think it’s normal. If you think of the answer to these questions let me know.
I prefer my trolls to be large, hairy beasts stuck in the pages of a fairytale or in Harry Potter. But I guess the 21st century had a different plan for us. Villagers, we gotta stick together!