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Trolling

 

This has nothing to do with leaflet delivery, although it is a phenomenon that has interested me for some time now, being as it is an extension of a less than endearing type of human behaviour.

 

What are Trolls?

You may have always thought of Trolls as fictional characters who once gave the Billy Goats Gruff a hard time and nothing more. Unfortunately, you may also be dismayed to find out that Trolls are alive and well and could even be living next door to you!

 

Where do they live?

You'll find Trolls in social media – Facebook, Twitter, comment sections on YouTube and blogging sites and anywhere online that actively seeks public opinion. They lurk anywhere that allows them to say what they like – close enough to cause offence and upset yet far enough away that they are not subject to the social norms of a modern society, i.e. they can't easily be excluded from a conversation, be ejected or receive a slap across the face as they might from any normal social gathering!

 

What is Trolling?

There are various types of Trolling, from mildly mischievous attempts to disagree with an online conversation to seriously nasty threatening and bullying behaviour that can leave victims traumatised and occasionally suicidal.

 

Can't I just express my opinion?

Of course, everyone has a right to an opinion. You can like or dislike this blog, for example. It is how that opinion is expressed, and unfortunately that right sometimes appears to be pursued at the expense of equally important responsibilities. "Freedom of expression comes with responsibilities, especially when it comes with serious implications for peace." Mohammed Morsi

 

It's just human behaviour!

People have always been prone to petty outbursts – 'he's got more than me', when the ice cream is handed out, or 'she jumped the queue'' when the full facts aren't known, and this can be bad enough within a community group. However, when you consider that potentially the entire English speaking world now has the capability of communicating directly with you, you might appreciate that Social Media has given this whole scenario a new dimension! I can't help feeling slightly relieved, and I'm sure most other 40-somethings will feel the same, that it wasn't around in my youth.

 

How will it end?

I am optimistic that social media will evolve and 'grow up', and people will become more experienced at handling the petulant and belligerent amongst us. 'Don't feed the Trolls' is already accepted online as simple advice in dealing with the problem. Just like we were advised as far back as nursery school, if you just ignore them they will usually go away.

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