It’s an act that many of us are happy to accuse others of doing, but if everyone who insists they’ve never trolled was telling the truth, then there would be a lot less trolling going on. Of course this could be because we don’t all share the same definition of trolling, so here’s mine just so we can understand what the baseline is:
“Trolling” is the act of deliberately invading an online conversation for no other reason than to be a huge asshole.
Pretty simple and I suspect many of you will insist that you are still innocent, but I have to admit that as much as the act annoys me, I can’t claim to say that my hands are clean.
One immediate example I can think of happened on a forum dedicated to criticizing a website I once occasionally contributed to. Eventually that criticism turned towards me and thus I discovered them via a google search for my own name [because anyone who says they never google themselves either a) is a liar, b) knows they’ll have nothing to find or c) is a sane well-adjusted person (and how many of those are there out there?)].
It’s a weird sensation finding out that anonymous strangers don’t like you. On the one hand you’re almost flattered that they would feel compelled to waste precious minutes they’ll never get back paying attention to your existence, while on the other, screw those assholes. Who do they think they are?
And so, before I even knew it, I trolled them.
The reaction was not positive to say the least. In fact it lead to a whole dramatic thing where my online presence was scoured for proof of my inherent unworthiness and I even briefly earned the ignominious “honour” of a “parody” Twitter account (which ceased to be cool once I learned that the author wasn’t actually any good at being funny).
It made me feel good in the moment, but ultimately led to more tumult than it was worth. The result is that its very unlikely that I’ll ever do it again.
I suppose there are a lot of possible messages one can take away from this, but the one most people will likely embrace is “Never troll with a picture of your own face.” Which is good for me, because I love attention too much to ever create a fake account anywhere for any reason.
How about you? Ever you ever succumbed to the temptation to troll? If you have, did you like it? Do you still do it? Are you actually a ginormous asshole? And what fake picture do you use?