A troll is a mythical creature with Scandinavian roots. It prefers caves and underground dwellings as a home, and according to the New World Encyclopedia, its name derives from the old Swedish law trolleri. This meant to reference a specific type of magic meant to do harm. It seems that trolls in the internet age have not strayed far from their origins. As the saying goes: ‘An apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.’, the troll in social media age still prefers dark places from which they can spread their ‘magic’.
The internet has given us the possibility to talk with our friends on the other side of the world, share ideas in an instant or watch cat videos for hours on end. It has allowed us to communicate more rapidly without having to physical talk to someone. This absence of the physical factor requires you to make an online persona. However, how this persona is formed is all to the person. One might choose that, for the sake of privacy, it is better to remain anonymous. Anonymity was not invented with the internet, however, it has certainly been made a lot easier. Enter the internet age troll, a person that acts inappropriately, for the sake of doing so. And all this from the safety of his/her own home, hiding behind screen names and avatars.
The Times wrote a feature article about the subject, which even stated that “the approximately 5% of Internet users who self-identified as trolls scored extremely high in the dark tetrad of personality traits: narcissism, psychopathy, Machiavellianism and, especially, sadism.” This is really disturbing and makes you wonder whether the internet has supplied us with means to tap into our darkest roots without any repercussions. However, there is also a lighter side to internet trolling. I have enjoyed on various occasions to exploit, in a harmless way, the gullibility of my friends. The way to do this can be found in the hype of ‘Rickrolling’, where you trick your friends into opening a link to the music video of ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ by Rick Astley. If would all stick to that, the world would be a lot happier
Anonymous. (2007, August 3). rickrolling. Retrieved from Urban Dictionary: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=rickrolling
New World Encyclopedia. (2015, December 18). Troll. Retrieved from New World Encyclopedia: http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Troll
Palme, J. (2002, July 30). Anonymity on the Internet. Retrieved from People: https://people.dsv.su.se/~jpalme/society/anonymity.html
Stein, J. (2016, August 29). How Trolls Are Ruining The Internet. Times.