16 August 2012


Trolls.  Not the kind featuring in the likes of The Hobbit who turn to stone when the first rays of sunlight hit them, but the human variety.

The type of people who prey on the weak, who delight in the misery of others and court controversy. 

We have all heard many stories about trolls before, from stalking celebrities to posting comments on RIP sites that would sicken you to read them.  Over the last 48 hours the troll "in thing" appears to be announcing that certain people have died. 

I have seen in the last couple of days death announcements, supposedly from the Twitter feeds of well known newspapers, that Matt Smith died of a heart attack in his flat, Margaret Thatcher has died and finally yesterday, that Prince Philip had died after his arrival in hospital.

I personally don't believe that any "trolling" activity is right.  I know someone who loves nothing more than to write on someone's status on Facebook or Google+ with something rude, purely to get the respondent to "bite".  They don't see that as a wrong thing to do.  I see them as baby trolls.

I have found though that you can get your trolls on their own, and then you can get "trolls united".  A mass of people, who for one reason or another like to ridicule others, who all send messages to the same person or site of a nasty and derogatory nature.

This was the case with a blog I read recently with a 17 year old who has a fascination for Formula One and likes to write about it.  Being an aspiring journalist he has created a website for his work.  I certainly couldn't have done anything like that at 17 and I admire his confidence, his work ethic and his will to succeed. 

He was unfortunately a target for a mass troll attack over the last day or so with people critising his writing, his website, himself as a person.....  This person is someone in college who is making something of himself and planning a career.  He wasn't sat around doing nothing and expecting the world to do things for him.

The majority were just regular people who had seemingly jumped on the band wagon of hate.  These people have normal lives with family, friends and social lives except once in a while, they seem to enjoy making nasty comments.  That doesn't make them normal, that makes them trolls.

In the end, I think what we all need to do is ignore them.  In the case of Twitter we have the ability to ignore, report and block.  In other mediums they can be reported or ignored. 

Whilst the human trolls don't turn into stone, maybe if we don't feed them by "biting back" at their jibes, they may wither away and go back to their own, let's face it, very sad and probably lonely lives.

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