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Trolls Are Everywhere

While I read Sam Fiorella’s post 12 Most Telling Characteristics of a Social Media Troll, I got a phone call from a friend who just got a hurtful comment on Facebook. As we discussed why someone would leave such a comment publicly to someone they only knew peripherally 30 years ago in high school, I realized that trolls are everywhere.

Not only are they everywhere but they’ve existed since the beginning of time. According to Fiorella, you can tell a troll because they…
1. Display false interest
2. Act overly critical
3. Argue ad nauseum
4. Wage attacks
5. Present opinions as facts…

Yup, my friend got “trolled.” And the perpetrator was a troll long before Facebook, long before the interwebz. She was probably the kind of person that said to a “friend” in high school, “You know, everyone hates you.” Or, “You are so full of yourself and I’m not the only one who thinks that. I’m just the only one who says it to your face.”

No, no one thinks that. It’s just #5.

… and unequivocally #10 (Act childish) … and just flat out bully behavior.

When I see the extent of what bullies are capably of, it makes me want to cry or… bash in faces (not proud of that). Online and off, there are few things that cause as much emotional angst as bullying — I’m thinking of high school for myself and for my young children on the playground AND now, for my dear friends online.

Today, social platforms give trolls/bullies free and easy to access to their victims. It’s the double-edged sword of being connected. When letting someone into your virtual living room is as cavalier as hitting one button, it’s tough to remember to stop and ask yourself if this is someone you want to hang out in your house. And even if you invite them over initially (since I like to think the best of people and have a relatively open door policy) are you willing to kick them out, if they crap on your rug?

How does that translate online? Bully behavior means that you give up your right to participate in healthy debate and open discussion. You’re out. Sorry. Delete. Unfriend.

photo credit: stock xchng

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