CYBER AND SOCIAL MEDIA TROLLING
The fantiwoman is back! how are you all, anyways todays post is quite sensitive but very much important as we have to tackle this elephant in the room. Truthfully; I didn’t know the existence of this word or English slang TROLL until late 2019; I had to google it after coming across it on Instagram and twitter. For a better understanding of the word TROLL ; Wikipedia defines is as follows; a troll is a person who posts inflammatory, insincere, digressive, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.), a newsgroup, forum, chat room, online video game, or blog), with the intent of provoking readers into displaying emotional responses, or manipulating others’ perception. This is typically for the troll’s amusement, or to achieve a specific result such as disrupting a rival’s online activities or manipulating a political process. Even so, Internet trolling can also be defined as purposefully causing confusion or harm to other users online, for no reason at all. In simple terms, a troll is a bully. In recent times, internet trolling has become a norm and seemingly harmless. This is also due to the fact that, we have all become members of the online community where millions converge to transact business, network and share ideas, learn and also have fun.
The internet has become a tool and has given a lot of us space to express ourselves, be bold and daring, which hitherto was not so; on the other hand, it has brought about the proliferation of BLOGGERS who are sometimes paid to promote ideas, gain traffic to products and services often rendered by third parties. One would often note that most of these bloggers are found on Instagram; as for twitter it’s not for the faint hearted!!! These accounts are usually managed by faceless people who tend to call themselves Investigative bloggers, most often they start by running promotions and ads for influencers and small business and as their followers grow they shift to focus to trolling certain individuals; usually celebrities or famous people; in essence they are PROFESSIONAL TROLLS. Most of these bloggers are ‘faceless’ and have huge following, I must confess that even I follow a few out of curiosity; It will be hypocritical on my part to even suggests that I have not said or written anything online similar to trolling even with the purest intensions. The comments section of these blogs breeds toxicity! I have had to unfollow and even block some, it’s an eye sore, some followers also open multiple accounts to just troll. it’s common to see fan pages of certain asimesis engaged in fan wars openly on social media.
Another phenomenon is when celebrity bloggers open YouTube channels and interview guests on issues and stuff happenings around town centering on feuds which has come to be popularly known as BEEFS. A lot of the times they seek to vilify, pass judgement and incite public disaffection towards certain people; it is worthy to note that a lot of the times these persons who are being vilified give room for such through their actions or through some of their posts and captions on the social media space. A lot of the write ups these bloggers churn out on people are laced with lies. You see, these bloggers tend to overly rely on the use of comedy, exaggeration, puns and satires to send their messages across such that whoever follows them or come across their post directly know who the shots are being fired to without necessarily naming them; these days they are even emboldened to directly name their targets. It sad that a lot of us also gullibly find these entertaining and we spend a lot of time indulging them without considering the effects it has on these persons and by extension their families. It’s as if we derive some joy from the pain of others, certainly not right at all. For me what triggered me to make the post was the news of the former Miss USA, Cheslie Kryst committing suicide by jumping off from her own apartment balcony. This is someone who seemingly had it all, and I dare say had achieved a lot for herself and by world standards doing quite well. All of us are dealing and struggling with one thing or the other; it could be joblessness, economic hardships, marriage, childbirth, career conflicts, academic issues, pension, health related issues and many others. These challenges result in a lot of mental health issues such as depression, OCDs, anxiety disorders and etc. In a published journal by Dr. Atsu Lartey on Leveraging Mobile Phone Technology to provide affordable and accessible mental healthcare in Ghana; the MindIT Mental Health Service story March 2020; the WHO states that about 650,000 – 2,166,000 Ghanaians are living with moderate to severe mental disorder coupled with about 1 psychiatrist to about 800,000 persons.
The figure above only gives an idea that a lot of people are struggling behind closed doors with very little access to help. Growing up in extended families afforded us some comfort; whereby an aunties, cousins and even grandmothers look out for us and we could share our burdens in exchange for good advice and counsel. This is not so now partly due to modernization, migration and economic factors hence; most of us resort to the use of the internet and the social media to interact and keep in touch and fill the voids . I believe we need to do better and possibly look out for each other. Let us learn to show empathy and decorum in our day to day use of social media. The next time you are tempted to troll, pause and think of the potential harm you would be causing to the fellow, and to guard your peace of mind; unfollow, block, hide post, snooze and possibly report! I am waiting for when the dislike button will be introduced for Facebook and Instagram; Twitter di33 me fa masem nko h) mpo. As for snapchat I heard the nudity and profanity going on there especially by the SHS students need a whole thesis to tackle it and I don’t have the ribs!! till our paths crosses again …..
So-long my friends;
Yours truly, thefantiwoma