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Internet trolls: the scoundrels of social media

Almost all of us have experienced the wonder that is the World Wide Web. We can find out almost anything at the click of a button, talk to friends and family thousands of miles away and

Pic from infospace.ischool.syr.edu

Pic from infospace.ischool.syr.edu

communicate with hundreds, maybe even thousands, of people at once. However, where there is sunshine there is also shade, and despite the wealth of pleasure the internet can bring us, it also has a way of bringing out a dark side in some individuals.

No doubt whilst browsing the internet you have encountered a cruel comment every so often. However, there are those who take this to the extreme – they are known as internet trolls.

You’ve probably heard the term before, but what are they?

Gone are the days that trolls were only under bridges in fairy tales. An internet troll is a user of the internet who is intentionally abusive and malicious towards other users in an attempt to cause upset and create arguments and disharmony.  Their aim is to be exceptionally cruel and disrespectful towards others while remaining anonymous, as they do not want to give their secret away or be caught – that’s part of the thrill. They can be found almost anywhere across the Internet. Trolls love to get a reaction so often target social media platforms, websites, forums and the like.

Sadly, trolls usually have no boundaries in the content of their comments. Likely, you have heard stories in the news of celebrities, from Jade Goody to Tom Daley, falling prey to these virtual fiends, who were cruelly targeted  following personal bereavement or even following their own highly publicised deaths.

So, how do you know if you are  being trolled? Take a look at our tips on how to recognise a troll:

Are they…

And to be really sure…

All this being said, it is important to recognise the difference between a person simply expressing that they disagree with your opinions and a troll.  Not everyone who posts a negative comment is a troll, and their comment may in fact be something useful to take on board.

If you find yourself the target of a troll:

It is a sad truth that there will always be people who want to argue with and upset others, and with the ever-growing power of the internet and social media that will only continue to happen. It’s unlikely that we’ll know who the trolls are or why they’re doing it.  However, if you can learn to identify a troll, half of the battle is already won.

If all else fails, take it as a compliment! Inadvertently, they’re drawing attention to you and your business and as long as you don’t give them the response they want, they can’t win.

Other related posts:

Social media: The power of a multi-platform approach

Keeping young people safe online

The darker side of social media

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