I don’t get it. The intention of these people. The trolls. Who are they? Especially: What’s going wrong with their lives?
You know, I use Social Media (in this case Facebook and Twitter) as a sort of personal news channel. As a student of media and communication studies I can tell you this is quite common. So I am the type of user who reads a lot, searches for answers but doesn’t communicate much. In fact, this blog is the big exception. I liked a lot of news media sites on Facebook and Twitter because it’s convenient to see their posts in my timeline and it makes it easy to be up-to-date. But reading the posts beneath certain articles I notice that other people – the other type of user – apparently find their purpose in life doing one thing: Posting stupid shit.
I am sorry. I am a tolerant person but I have no understanding for trolls. Before I go on with this rant I’d like to explain that to me a troll is only someone who is offensive. Simply saying ones opinion is highly legitimate, and it’s a wonderful achievement of the Internet that it makes this so much easier!
While the behaviour of the offensive trolls just bewilders me. I would react totally different. When I read something on the internet that makes me angry (like troll comments) I think to myself: “What a stupid shit. What a weirdo.” Or: “This is wrong, this article is badly written, it’s polemic.” But whatever I don’t like about this piece of information that I just read, I simply forget it within a few minutes. I don’t write a 1.000 word rant about what I don’t like about this, why it’s crap, why the author must be a retard (not my words!), why the whole system is twisted, why all media lie, why all politicians lie and why this special news medium has no right to exist in the first place.
What the HELL?
Everyone has the right to choose what he reads. So why would I follow a news site that I consider crap just to express my dislike over and over again? Also these people take everything as a personal assault. It must be very tiring! But I guess these people don’t have much of a social life outside Social Media so they can spend hours commenting, fighting little comment-wars with other trolls and feel good afterwards because the whole world has been unmasked once more as a big lie.
Recently I read posts by two bloggers who in my opinion are doing a great job but received insulting comments because they uttered their opinion about topics which are currently hot potatos: the Ukraine, the conflict between the “West” and Russia and the accuracy of the media reporting; the question whether “our” journalists are working as they should or not. (I commented on this more generally in a post earlier this year.)
Danielle Ryan (English) wrote about the Twitter trolls that badgered her because she tries to show on her blog that not all the “Western” media are always telling the truth, that there are mistakes and ideological bias when it comes to reporting about Russia and the Ukraine.
Christian Buggisch (German) wrote about the term “Lügenpresse” (Lying Press) which is recently used in Germany a lot to discredit the media as liars in general, not only concerning the reports about the Ukraine. It is used by a movement called “PEGIDA” which is protesting against the pretended “Islamization” of the Occident (bullshit, but I will comment on this elsewhere because this post is about trolls). Buggisch wrote a post stressing the point that the term “Lügenpresse” derived from Nazi language or was at least used a lot by the Nazis between 1930 and 1945. A few days later he commented to have received a cacophony of angry feedback after his post was shared often in Social Media.
These are sorry examples for the escalation of communication in the Internet. It reaches new tops with the Ukraine crisis. This topic seems to divide the whole world into two sides who furiously hate each other and whose pig-headed trolls mutually name each other liars and start a little “shitstorm” every single time there is something about the Ukraine or Russia in the news.
The topic may be controversial like nothing else at the moment, yes. But trolling is bad behaviour. People should behave like humans on the internet, like in real life. And they should respect the difficult work of journalists in this field. I am writing my Bachelor thesis about a related topic, so I read many scientific and journalistic articles about this and also talked with journalists about their view. I noticed that journalists betake themselves into Social Media (in form of official news sites but also personally as authors) although they know it’s like going into the lion’s den. They do so because they believe it’s good when people discuss. When people say their opinion in public. When the truth presented in the news media is not considered the ultimate answer.
To all the trolls out there: Journalists are human! (As bloggers are human.)
They might commit errors. They might get something wrong or jump to conclusions. This is why we should also read more than one newspaper or online magazine or blog and watch more than one TV channel. The “perfectly impartial journalist” is an ideal that one will never reach. Like there’s nobody who’s perfect. Dear trolls, remember this! If there are mistakes being made, we should make them public. But no need to get offensive, honestly! Accepting different opinions as something given would make our world so much better.