Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Oct 24, 2012
There’s a guy I know who’s not necessarily a bad guy. Matter of fact he’s a pretty good guy. Loves his wife and son, treats his friends pretty well, and has a pretty good sense of humor as well.
And he’s a troll. He’d probably argue with me on this one but I’m going to state the case. He has a Twitter account not using his own name. That’s not a big deal overall.
He also uses an image that’s not his face but someone else’s face. That’s a bit bad because it reminds me of those dating sites where most of the time people aren’t using pictures of themselves, or are using pictures of themselves when they were 100 pounds lighter and 10 years younger.
With his Twitter account however, every once in awhile he decides to crash Twitter chats and says stupid stuff just to be annoying. He does this because he doesn’t like the concept of Twitter chats and thus feels its his right to say whatever he wants to, which is always something rude and off-topic, and on purpose.
That makes him a troll. It’s no different than someone showing up on a blog with a fake name and fake avatar and deciding they want to be stupid just because they can. It’s one reason why I will delete a comment in a heartbeat without worry about protecting anyone’s first amendment rights, which they don’t have, because it’s my space and I’m paying for it.
Are you an online troll? It’s an interesting question because though I gave you one scenario above, it can apply to multiple similar scenarios. I’ve talked about the trolls that write comments on news sites. Child bullies who pick on people in their Facebook groups are trolls, even if you get to know their names. For that matter an overwhelming number of comments on YouTube videos are from trolls. And, oddly enough, I have another friend who, on some of my serious posts on Facebook, will throw in a rude line trying to be funny, and in a way that makes him a troll.
What makes you a troll outside of the things I mentioned above? If every website you go to or every blog you comment on leads you to leave a rude comment, whether it’s on topic or not, you’re probably a troll. If you never have anything nice to say about anyone you’re a troll.
There are many people who live off that sort of thing. Trust me, you’ve never seen that behavior around here for long because I’m not putting up with it. But I thought about myself and wondered if I could be considered by anyone as being a troll. After all, I’m not necessarily always saying nice things when I visit blog posts I disagree with. And on Facebook, if you show any kind of insensitivity towards someone else, I’m probably coming after you.
Does that make me a troll? Nope, not one bit. I don’t go out of my way looking for trouble; I actually let a lot of stuff that irritates me pass. I set up a filter on Facebook to block a lot of stuff that used to get me riled up. I comment on a lot of blogs and talk to a lot of people on Twitter and Facebook. And for the most part I think I’m pretty nice.
Can you say the same thing? Can you say the same thing about people you know and their online behavior? And how do you feel about it?