You mad bro?

There’s a theory that goes by the name of GIFT (Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory), where a normal person + anonymity + audience = total fuckwad.

cyber bullying trolling trolls

There’s a theory that goes by the name of GIFT (Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory), where a normal person + anonymity + audience = total fuckwad. But this isn’t exclusive to the Internet. From the crass remark from the stand ‘[that] if he’s brown bread, they’ll call the game off’, when Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the pitch last weekend, to the eruption of blind jokes from the Glastonbury audience when Stevie Wonder trundled onto the stage. The fact is that anonymity gives us cojones the size of melons, enabling us to make remarks that wouldn’t be made in any other context. The audience gives a reaction, which can range from laughter to outrage, and the perpetrator can prop his feet up in untouchable self-satisfaction as the drama ensues.

This is the art of trolling. Its intended effect is hysteria – people getting all hot and bothered and having no one to direct their frustration towards. The result is an outraged group or individual who is left floundering in his own impotence. But the victim has to take the bait. Take away the reaction and you are left with nothing but a callous and inappropriate comment. Richard Bacon’s search for a weirdo who obsessed over Richard and his family has inadvertently created a troll, even though Richard thought he was looking for a troll to begin with. The media have turned cyber-bullies into something they are not – trolls.

The rule is that there are good trolls and there are bad trolls. Trolling can be comedy genius. Let’s face it; we all enjoy the odd dose of dark humour, the unwarranted ridicule of Ed Milliband, and making someone look like a royal nob when they really deserve it (e.g. writing ‘Exclusive!’, or similar, on every Buzz article after the title gaffe). Anonymity in this sense isn’t cowardly; it is intrinsic to the bewilderment and reaction of the target. But bad trolls are cowardly. They hide behind their anonymity to cause offence that is unwarranted and isn’t funny at all. The thrill is the hope that no one will know who they are, regardless of the reaction. So let them have their cheap thrills, because reaction is playing right into their scummy little hands.

The rise in ‘RIP trolling’ and cyber-bullying on social media sites is a pathetic attempt at trolling, and the media has fallen right into the honey trap for the sake of a sensational story. Creating hysteria and strongly worded reactions against the anonymous perpetrator is a loss and a damned shame. Chalk one up for the bad guys because they’re the ones revelling in the taste of your salty tears.

As T. I. once said, ‘never mind what the haters say, ignore them until they fade away’.

So remember – don’t rise to the bait and don’t feed the trolls.