For the purpose of this blog post I will be looking at trolling and social media conflict from the perspective of anonymous comments, random attacks and spontaneous posting. Systematic bullying of a known subject is wrong, it is heartless and nobody deserves to be the subject of such victimisation – be it cyber or otherwise.
One of the most fascinating things I found to come out of this topic of conversation is the apparent double standards with regards to how social media and the use of social media is viewed. On one hand there is the perspective that cyber bullying is a real and prevalent issue in our society – which it is, to an extent – that cannot be stopped without writing laws, making changes to legislation and re-commissioning the cyberpolice (assuming they weren’t just made up by this guy).
On the other is the belief that we are living in an online fantasy world where we present ourselves in a certain way, as an online persona if you will, to show off the life we want people to think that we have (TED-ed, 2013). Instagram photos of fancy things. Facebook check-in’s at lavish places. Reblogging the latest fitness craze to show how healthy and spiritual we are on Tumblr.
So which is it?
In the world of social media if we are so isolated and disconnected from reality, presenting to the worlds our ideal self, how then can our ‘reality’ be defined by something that should, in essence, not matter to us at all? An attack on an entity that doesn’t exist, or only exists within the confines of the world wide web? To this end it seems to be a case of having your cake and eating it too, depending on your own personal circumstances.
Sticks and Stones may break our bones but as society progresses and finds new ways to interact words seem to be getting more and more powerful. Why? The only logical explanation, based on the theory explored here, is that the only thing worse than being bullied outside by ‘real’ people is having the idea of the ‘perfect you’ belittled by someone (who you probably don’t even know) online. The sad reality of this situation is that some people don’t know how to disconnect and, whether they realise they are doing it or not, give in to the pressure – or “feed the trolls” for want of a better phrase. Each individual person is entitled to their own beliefs and their own opinions and I respect that as much as the next person – and want to reiterate that I do not condone bullying in any form – however, if you ask me there is one very simple way to avoid cyber bullying and/or trolling – and it’s got Paul Anaka’s guarantee (guarantee void in Tennessee)
TED-Ed 2013, Connected, but alone?- Sherry Turkle, 19 April, viewed 2 February 2017,