The art of trolling

Making enemies faster than you can write

Social media expansion has led to an Internet explosion and the coining of a new term we as a society are intimately being familiarized with: The troll.

Historically, a troll is a mythical hominoid beast that lays in wait under bridges and stops billy goats in their quests to traverse a body of water. They live in dark, dank places and only come up to cause trouble.

Internet trolls are much the same way. They lay in wait, looking for an article, Facebook, Live Journal, or Reddit post and then find their target and attack, aiming at getting an emotional response. Simply put, they’re bullies who get-off on the suffering of others.

We’ve all seen this phenomenon at one point or another. I’m not talking about prankster groups like Ferris Trolls which serve only to have some harmless fun. I’m honing in on the type of person or group whose sole occupation in life is creating animosity and negativity.

Such people use the pain of others to satisfy the need for attention and acceptance in their own lives. How many times have you viewed a seemingly unimposing picture of a cat saying something as unpretentious as “Can haz cheeseburger?” Only then you scroll down through the comments to see some person who perambulates through the comments, finds a target and calls them dirty names, insults their intelligence or just in general acts like an ass.

This sets off a conflagration of ALL CAPS LETTERS and exclamation!!! marks that lead bystanders into the fiery pit of troll-dom. This behavior is stereotypical of a troll, a narcissist and a bully who are all one and the same.

Not every troll is a narcissist, and not every narcissist is a troll. But, if a toll is a toll and a roll is a roll, logic serves to stand that a troll is a troll.

Everyone has selfish tendencies, and it’s nearly impossible to alleviate the self-preservation instinct that is hereditarily inherent in each person. However, there is something to be said against the person who, out of lack of attention, boredom or self-pity goes out of their way to hurt others for no reason other than their own sadistic nature.

Trolls will be a fact of life for our generation. They are the new school-yard bullies taking up territory in the social media troposphere where there are no playground monitors to stop them.

Ignoring them when they make a snide remark or comment is the easiest thing to do. If they persist, block them or report them or both.

The second thing and the best thing to do is live and lead by example. Trolls only attack those who they wish they could be, or attack a piece of life they wish they could have.