Don’t be a troll on the web

Trevor Drew

Staying in contact is part of everyday life now. It’s a fact. New technology and social media allow people to stay in contact with various friends and family in a variety of different ways.

Every week or so, my cousin sends me and the rest of my relatives, a picture of her newborn baby in our family group chat. Facebook and Twitter keep my friends who are far away within some sort of manageable reach. You can even reach out and try to meet people with similar interests as you and expand your virtual circle of friends.

Having the ability to instantly interact with loved ones across huge distances is an enjoyable aspect of the times. However, connectivity is not always fun and games.

In fact, there are some very ugly things scattered around the Web. While most of my experiences with social technology are fine, I’ve seen many instances where the anonymous, impersonal nature of the Web brings out the worst in people.

If you ever feel like giving yourself a headache, check out YouTube video comments. Dig deep enough into any video and I’m sure you’ll find nasty comments being flung back and forth between two meaningless usernames multiple times. And this is not unique to just YouTube.

I’ve seen similar cases on news sites and social media. I can’t even play online video games without some kid telling me I suck and calling me a “noob” at least once.

Some of the stuff I see when I venture deep into comment boards really makes my stomach turn. But that is one unfortunate symptom of the Information Age: Empathy goes right out the window when you’re just typing messages to some profile picture.

Sure, I see posts and media that I don’t always agree with, but that’s no excuse to verbally abuse a stranger. To me, the second you get involved in an argument over social media, you’re opening the most avoidable can of worms in the pantry.

There is already so much negativity in the world, why add anymore unnecessary stress? Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. It may seem harmless to “troll” someone, but believe it or not, there is another person on the end of the line.

When I was in kindergarten, my teacher would always remind me and my fellow classmates that what you do when nobody’s watching is what counts the most. To this day, I still try to abide by this advice and be kind and decent when I really don’t have to be.

One fear I have is that if we continue to become more and more connected, we will drift apart in the sense that we will grow too accustomed to the artificial company our devices provide and no longer feel connected with our fellow man.

There are so many advantages these new technologies have to offer, it would be a shame to see them go to waste. So next time you encounter something you don’t like on the Web, shrug it off because there are more important things to be doing than bickering with a stranger.