I first learned about trolls last fall when taking EC&I 831.
No- not that kind of troll. The online variety.
I learned about trolls last year and I have seen contributions from them in different places: Twitter, News Articles, Facebook- but after seeing Katia’s Twitter post this week about being trolled about a white privilege article she shared I decided to check out some trolls.
Check out Katia’s article here.
I started my troll hunt looking up @Nero on Twitter and finding a lot more of him with a Google search. I can honestly say he is not what I expected to find. He is arrogant (expected), racist (expected), a misogynist (expected), but he also seems to be very charismatic- which explains the 118,000 followers. He was the one that shared Katia’s tweet, but he never actually commented on it. This reminded me of Justine Sacco’s experience of having her tweet shared by another individual with a much larger number of followers.
Looking through his feed I noticed that he shared the same article over and over (about how birth control is making women crazy and unattractive), so I eventually clicked on it- just to see. I laughed when I realized the article he was sharing over and over was written by himself. To me it just looks like a crazy person rant. In fact his whole feed looked a lot like a crazy person rant to me. It is obvious he has a mission to bring down Shaun King because he has obviously offended Milo (@Nero) in some way.
In my short search looking at Milo Yiannopoulos I have discovered my Troll #1 (although possibly not a true troll himself in this situation, just an enabler of trolls- but definitely a troll in other posts I saw) was partially educated, spoke well enough to sound educated, and was charismatic enough to gather a following. He did, however, strike me as mentally unstable and seemed to have a ranting fixation on several topics that seemed to consume his feed. It was time for me to move on before I got angry enough to comment.
The second troll I looked at was more what I expected to find: right wing extremist views focused on gun rights and anti-feminism (with plenty of anti-muslim humour tied in). @TheAnyello has made me wonder what these trolls do in their offline lives. What kind of a job do these people have? Do people they work with know about their extremist views? Do their families know? Or do they hide behind fake names and profiles to keep their views in Twitter space and not have to face up to them offline? A Google search turned up little additional information on Anyello Dei (or whoever he really is).
My other troll searches turned up more of the same. Right wing extremist views, muslims are bad- keep them out of America, Obama is useless, feminists are sociopathic liars and crybabies, gender inequality doesn’t exists (actually a debate that @Nero takes part in, etc.) I got bored pretty quick with the unintelligent rants I found and my troll hunt made me extremely grateful that I don’t live with that kind of hate everyday. It also reminded me that the internet can be an ugly and unforgiving place- many of whom are completely oblivious victims.
My kudos goes to Katia for standing up for herself and her views without taking the bait and engaging the troll army in a battle that will never be won. My thoughts here go back to Kirsten’s quote about “Being the internet that you want to see” and focusing on all the great things out there.
My shortlist for things you should see on the internet:
- Humans of New York (I follow on FB- warms my heart)
- A Mighty Girl (I also follow on FB)
- TED everything (including TedEd)
Ciao for now!