The other night I was pondering. I had been reading a Facebook post released surrounding a well know police case having to close their twitter account due to trolling.
Undecided as to whether I should reflect on trolling in general within my blog post, or whether I should look at trolling specifically within this case, and the effect it has had, I took to twitter
I immediately got tweeted with "No. You will put yourself in terrible danger"
I asked the Tweeter to elaborate.
Suddenly a full on war had surrounded me. I had accidentally sucked in a tribe of trolls who were arguing amongst themselves & throwing the odd insult to me here and there.
I watched as the Twitter war progressed. To and fro. Backwards and forwards. Each side trying to pull me in to their tribe, twisting my words and asking me questions. Throwing scraps of evidence at me from books and police reports and silently screaming! Read this! Side with us!!
I'm not sure which side was worse. I felt like I was virtually surrounded by wild animals. It was suffocating.
But I was beginning to get the idea as to why the admin running the case in question had chosen to delete their Twitter account.
It made me sad. It made me disappointed with the human race. When did we become such vile creatures? Throwing insults towards people who disagree with us to the point that someone would warn you that you are in danger if you dare voice your opinion that doesn't conform with a majority.
Is this the world that my child will be growing up in? Surrounded by such hatred and venom? I'm ashamed to say that it is.
Because people are hateful. And the effects of that hatred have potentially put a police case in jeopardy.
I expect some trolling through this post. Possibly trolls who don't know they are trolls, but troll anyway.
But this is essentially not a post about "that case." It's a post about us. About how potentially dangerous our words can be on social media. About how we can spread such hatred and contempt with the simple click of a button. Isn't there more to life than this? Isn't there great sights to see, wonderful smells to smell, amazing experiences to be involved in?
Don't we have children and other family who we can squeeze extra tight and be grateful that they are here with us. That we get to witness the little things about them that make us laugh (and cry sometimes!)
A friend who noticed the Twitter saga messaged me and asked me what the hell was going on. How one tweet had led to such viciousness and malice. She made an extremely valid point. Rather than turn her words in to mine, I will quote her directly
"We're the first generation to live online whilst still remembering time before the Internet so we have this weird "it's only the Internet, you can do or say whatever". Which isn't true, we're online all the time and we carry it around in our pockets. We spend so much time online our offline and online personalities are very much intertwined, so if you allow your online self to be cruel and horrible to others it would be a miracle if that didn't affect who you are offline as well.
And when you're at the receiving end of Internet hate it really does affect your mood. Cyber bullying is bullying and since its 2015 there really is no need for the prefix "cyber". Everything is "cyber" nowadays..
All these anti bullying campaigns that go viral online and get millions of likes mean nothing until we recognise this"
I think she sums the entire sense of "trolling" up perfectly.
Just because you are hiding behind a keyboard does not give you the excuse to say awful things to people because it's not your physical self saying them. It is your physical self saying them!
I've been known to get in the odd argument/debate online. I've been known to call the odd troll an 'arsehole' at one point or another. I'm not perfect in any way, shape or form.
But we all have different opinions, and that's great! What a boring world it would be if we didn't! The things I say are usually things I would actually say to somebody's face. And anything slightly untoward I may say is usually done through frustration or anger, not spitefulness or maliciousness. I don't need to hide behind a computer screen/phone etc to make a point. Mainly because I wouldn't be saying things such as this
Shocking isn't it?
But I wanted to shock you. I wanted you to realise that when you post things you may actually be a troll, who doesn't know they're a troll, and therefore continues trolling.
There is just no need for all this hatred.