THE END OF INTERNET TROLL CULTURE
Could the culture of internet trolls be coming to an end?
Since the beginning of the internet age, many have used the digital world as a shield to hide behind a screen and release the spite they withhold in the real world onto others. “Internet Trolls” are defined by the urban dictionary as A person whose sole purpose in life is to seek out people to argue with on the internet over extremely trivial issues.
Many recognize trolls for who they are, people who are unhappy with real life looking to inflict some degree of pain virtually to another who appears to be happy. Usually, they are ridiculed and belittled for trolling. Mostly it’s advised to just ignore them, some people react, many feeds into the negativity.
I mean, it has to be hard not to. Your comments and threads online filled with personal attacks from people who do not even have the balls enough to have a real profile photo. It is best to ignore and not participate, it only continues a cycle of bullying, that has too often, led to suicide.
Celebrities get the worst of the trolls. They seem like the targets. Their lives are seemingly perfect, their social media filled with images of wealth, and no worries at all. Their fame and access give trolls permission to say whatever they want, no matter how cruel. Most times the remarks make no real sense, have no basis, and come from places of hate. There are some celebrities that are able to ignore, but then there are ones who don’t hesitate to “clapback” and go back and forth with trolls.
The culture of trolling celebs on the internet has gotten so bad that now Instagram has a feature to disable comments. That way, Taylor Swift does not have to worry about the flood of snake emojis under her pics.
However, one comedian took a surprisingly different route, Sarah Silverman responded to a tweet sent from a troll with compassion and uncovered a deep truth in the midst of it all.
It all started December 28th, 2017 in which a man responded to her tweet randomly with “cunt”. Instead of feeding into it, Silverman responded with a deep sense of compassion, going farther than most will normally go. She screened the tweeter’s page and responded with the following:
“I believe in you. I read ur timeline & I see what ur doing & your rage is a thinly veiled pain. But u know that. I know this feeling. Ps My back Fucking sux too. see what happens when you choose love. I see it in you.”
In that response alone the troll, whose name is Jeremy, revealed his human side. He became vulnerable and opened up to Silverman about his issues and reason for his way of being:
“I can’t choose love. A man that resembles Kevin spacey took that away when I was 8. I can’t find peace if I could find that guy who ripped my body who stripped my innocence I’d kill him. He fucked me up and I’m poor so it’s hard to get help.” The two then went back and forth, Silverman offering solutions and the man open and accepting of help.
This situation shed a bright light on a dark subject. We are so quick to shun negative people, write them off as miserable losers when they are just as fragile as we are. We ignore the cries for help mainly because we’d rather save our ego.
Silverman is a comedian, she could’ve easily trolled that man’s timeline and roasted him; yet she took the kind route, she read between the lines (tweets in this case) and recognized there was a deep-rooted pain in this man. Instead of breaking him down for picking on her, she chose to uplift him. It says a lot about her character. Yet it says even more about the ways we can react to “trolls” on social media and even in real life.
Often we feel we must protect ourselves and be on defense when others attack us in any form, not realizing most of the attacks are genuine cries for help. The saying, “misery loves company” runs deep… people who are unhappy need other unhappy people, that alone needs to change.
If we looked more often outside of ourselves it would be much clearer through compassionate lenses to see what truly needs to be addressed. If we spread love, and kindness with the same ferocity as clapbacks on Twitter and Instagram, the world would be a much better place.
What we all deserve is compassion and an open to understanding, opening a door to create a safe space for anyone who isn’t used to it. Most of the people hurting do not know how to be open, they have been scarred by the misfortunes of life to shut down and only express negativity. Keeping this in mind takes away the intensity of a negative verbal attack and allows us to dig and even help pull someone out of the pits of depression.
Sarah Silverman is the perfect example of how to handle an internet troll.
“Good. I want to kill him too so I can’t imagine your rage. All I know is this rage- and even if you could kill him— it’s punishing yourself. And you don’t deserve punishment. You deserve support. Go to one of these support groups. You might meet ur best bros there.” The support, the empathy, and understanding in this statement are severely important. “All I know is this rage….. it’s punishing yourself. And you don’t deserve punishment.”
This is vital to healing. Let’s heal together. It’s clear Silverman has done a lot of self-work and it is powerful that she is sharing this. Let it be known regardless of life’s circumstances we do not deserve to punish ourselves, there is no need to, love is really the answer, once we open up.
The internet is a very interesting place, many users project what they wish to be, on a lot of levels. Reading between the virtual posts of social media you can gather a sense of who someone is currently, whether they choose to hide behind a mean facade or a happy one. Looking through a lens of compassion can help us play our part in how we deal with the treacherous land of social media, trolls especially. You never know who may need your words of encouragement. Remember we are all searching for inner peace, each of us can help one another steer each other towards this healthy goal without malice and spite. We can all take a lesson from Sarah Silverman’s empathetic approach to dealing with trolls, those on social media and even real life.