Trolling: Is it just a Joke?

When I think of trolling on the internet I think of it as a joke, not something serious or present in everyday life. For example, Chrissy Teigen trolling Donald Trump and others on Twitter.

Trolling never really seemed like a big deal to me, but the articles “Yelp, The Red Hen, And How All Tech Platforms Are Now Pawns In The Culture War” and “Could Russian trolls have helped elect Donald Trump?” show examples of how trolling can actually have an impact on the world.

The Red Hen restaurant got an overwhelming amount of negative attention for asking White House Press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, to leave due to her political actions that the owner disagreed with. I never really considered this trolling, because I always just thought of trolling as offending someone or attacking them via social media, usually over something stupid and immature, but really this is an example of just that. If social media was not in existence then this encounter would have led to some angry phone calls or maybe a small number of people boycotting the restaurant. However, due to social media’s role in the issue, the argument became a national news story and quickly escalated.

Trolling on social media such as review sites like Yelp and Twitter is prevalent because it is so easy to do without repercussions. You can post a review of a restaurant anonymously and never have to talk to anyone or explain your bad experience. It is easy to criticize someone online and may not be in person. Trolling seems like a small issue, but if it had the power to actually impact the 2016 election, like the article suggests, then it becomes a much  more serious problem.

 

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