How I Became an Internet Troll and How I Stopped

By LaEglantine 04/09/18

I am generally housebound. I'm a 60 plus grandma retired to a rural community. I was raised in New York City with all the multiple opinions and races at attitudes, so I thought of myself as open minded and cosmopolitan. And then somehow, I wound up becoming an internet troll. Here's what I think happened. I have a doctorate in an obscure area and I always enjoy the fact that there are many people on my friend list are academics, artists or writers, so we regularly exchange ideas, impressions of the news of the day and articles about issues. As I'm an African-American many of the issues that I respond to are relevant to me. Until the last election.

Generally, my laptop goes on when I wake up [like most folks that have access]. So sometimes I find myself read something, a piece, sound bite about something a political Evangelical said about an issue that [I think] concerns me. Even though intellectually I know, that many people on Facebook simply enjoy listening to themselves out loud and don't want to really hear other opinions, they believe people agree with them or “like” then repeat back what they said. Many of them simply get upset if you question even generally what they say. And I just had to say something.

I was shocked when people I thought I knew, would argue about issues that were clearly irrational frothing-at-the-mouth crazy. Many of my church friends begin to show pictures designed to offend somebody and use that as a jumping off point for their opinion about gays or white people or rich people or other people. Then there were some truly disturbing memes about other races. Then there were the chain letters and absolutely refer refused stop no matter how many times you ask them, message them or blocked them and they continue and connect you with strangers who send memes and skits as news and appear on your page and insult me [no I don’t know Freddie from Katmandu].

I read a lot of news and reading several front pages in a day inundated you mind with negative output daily. Mostly about the politics and much of it descending to the level of a five-year-old. And even if you think you are above such things sooner or later social media will find your button and you will transform into the mud flinging insulting, name-calling troll of your nightmares

But I’m better than that. Uh-huh I thought so too until recently. one time too many posts that were nonsense and I lost it. I somehow felt that some people having opinions that different from mine were stupid and should be exposed now. I think I had the final blow when a white person that I knew explain to me how black lives matter a terrorist group was because they saw them on television and how do you know it was them what was there. This provoked me to go back to some of my recent post in different thing. it burned up on me I was no longer interested and being scholarly in my responses after I had a few articles kicked back to me because my passion or intensity or rage was so thick that I was losing the point of what I was writing about [subtext I sounded like a mad black woman]. I was compulsive about cross checking everything that was posted and responding with long diatribes to prove that I was “right”. I missed doctor appointment, had no time for friends, stayed on line till my back hurt, and it started getting worse and worse.

I always go check to find out who said it and who they tested and so on many of the research results, so I can interpret data especially when it concerned poorly researched generalizations about POC.

Self-righteously I had blocked friends of mine who showed naked bodies or spoke and graphic terms about sex or race or that argue with me about my viewpoint on politics and race I just deleted them but then what you have left is people who know that you're angry and some people who are scared to say anything. And you have become an Internet troll. Amazing to me that it was that easy as that. Not demented old mean or young kids smoking weed in the basement in the dark t looking for somebody to write crap about. But regular folks like you and me

I needed to get back in touch with why I thought being in social media was a good idea. I have found it to be a good way to keep track of friends and family that are spread all over the planet. And maybe I need to get rid of some of some of my news feeds because some of them inflamed more than educate and will skew a story so that it supports their political viewpoint. If you're not careful you can become more sexist then the sexiest you're talking about, you can become more racist then the racist that you're complaining about, and you can become the madwoman in the corner screaming over a second cup of coffee about some imagine slight.

I love the Internet it's like having a library in your house I'm Mobility challenged so it's really exciting to be able to look up all kinds of information. However, it cannot be your only input I decided what I needed to do is take a break from social media on maybe start a 12-step program Trolls Anonymous.

Step 1 "We admitted we were powerless over the internet - that trolling had made our lives unmanageable"

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