Tuesday, February 25, 2020

The Internet--Blessing Or Curse?

I enjoy looking at Facebook and Twitter periodically, keeping up with the postings of my friends, acquaintances, and people who fit into neither categories but who like my writing or are otherwise my "friends." But when I look at the comments that follow various posts, especially those with political overtones, I flinch and usually navigate away. It seems that "trolls" are becoming more and more a problem.

What is a computer troll? Here's one definition, from an excellent article: "An Internet troll is a member of an online social community who deliberately tries to disrupt, attack, offend or generally cause trouble within the community by posting certain comments, photos, videos, GIFs or some other form of online content." They may be represented by a single person voicing their opinion, by a group that sets out to disrupt or negate an honest difference of opinion, and probably other types as well. And they're ruining what the social networks were originally planned to be--an opportunity to communicate, to voice your feelings, the equivalent of back-fence conversation in the old days. Apparently, all that has gone by the boards.

I control what social media I see and who my FB friends are (and I've had to block some folks, I'm sorry to say), but occasionally I still see comments to other people's posts or blogs that generate feelings that vary from disagreement to downright anger. How about you? Am I alone in seeing things which border on trolling? Do you have similar feelings? Let me know.


Priscilla Bettis said...

I don't have FB or Twitter accounts, and when I hear about things like trolls, I'm glad I don't have those accounts.

Richard Mabry said...

Of course, authors are supposed to have a "presence" on social media, but sometimes I'd like to throw up my hands and enjoy retired life. 'Tis a puzzlement.

Patricia Bradley said...

I've hidden or blocked so many posts that make me angry FB isn't showing me as many as they did. There are trolls on Goodreads, too. I guess we'll always have bullies with us...social media just makes it easy for them to remain anonymous.

Richard Mabry said...

Patricia, I think that's the reason--they can remain anonymous. In the "old days," they'd have to face us with their comments, but no longer.