Internet Is Turning Us into Trolls

internet turning us into trolls

This cartoon was inspired by a Twitter conversation with my friend @MetalJared. (Click here to read the whole conversation).

Though there are some analysis that show that social pressure to behave properly still prevails on the internet, I don’t think the sentiment of those of us who read comments feel the same way.  If that were the case, then Amanda Palmer’s touching blog post on internet bullying wouldn’t have struck so many chords.

There are other studies and theories out there (like this one printed in the Wall Street Journal) that say that the internet lowers our self-control. That the fact that we are interfacing with machines makes it easy to forget that there are real people on the other end of those wires.

I think it’s easy for fear and anger to seep into the lines. It’s also easy to misunderstand sarcasm and to lose the feeling of any post, tweet or status in translation from one person to the next. That’s the danger of communicating with the written word.

The above cartoon is about myself, because I don’t think I’m exempt. I do generally log off before I say or do anything I might regret. I often save things into drafts if I get too worked up about them. I block people a lot.  I try to stay human.

What do you think about this topic?



5 thoughts on “Internet Is Turning Us into Trolls

  1. Honestly, it scares me how easy it is to hurt people using the internet, whether accidentally or deliberately.
    But the other side is that it’s also easy to uplift and support people too.
    I wonder about the deliberate trolls who take pleasure in their attacks, what twist there is in their psyches that they don’t see that what they are doing is to REAL people somewhere.
    Excellent post and rather amazing cartoon. Thank you.

    • Thanks for visiting! I’m still new to the cartoon thing, still fiddling with it.

      I agree that it’s easy to support and uplift as well. I think the key is remembering that those are real people on the other end of the line.

  2. Probably my worst experiences with Internet bullying ironically have come from people I knew in “real life” but that thought they could be extra rude in arguing a point on Facebook in front of everyone I knew – they would be total jerks online, but to my face, I knew they’d never act that way! For a long time, I didn’t have a personal Facebook page because of it. I’m only just now allowing it again, but I feel like I can’t post anything too personal, because I’m afraid of the trolls bashing my ideas just because they can.

    • I’ve never had that happen on Facebook, but I do have various sets of friends who disagree vocally. I have to avoid all politics for this reason. I try to keep Facebook pretty fluffy.

  3. I’m really careful about what I post for a few reasons. For one, I’m a middle school counselor. For another, like I remind my students- once you post something, it’s out there in internet world forever, even if you delete it. Being a school counselor has definitely inhibited some of the things that I would voice (I’d probably cuss at times). And if the internet were around when I was in middle & high school, I know I would have posted snarky things on Facebook & Instagram and all of the other sites. My students often do this and it causes a lot of problems. Cyber bullying is the number one bullying, at least at my school.

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