Transforming the Troll

Sometimes I truly am baffled by the negativity being shared by some people. On social media mostly, but in the news and the everyday ‘real’ world too.

From random comments which exist only to belittle, to bile-filled rants, to unbalanced rabble-rousing arguments… honestly, I often cannot fathom what the end goal is of those passing on such venom.

In Internet terms, it’s referred to as ‘trolling’, and I understand that people have now been successfully prosecuted for this (which is one way to deal with it). I’ve also heard ‘do not feed the trolls’ – do not respond, it just gives the bullies more fuel.

Because it’s not really a debate these people want, is it? It is fuel, to feed their vitriol, their anger and flaming hate which has nowhere else to go but out into the world. Reaction means they’ve succeeded, because they can see that their words had an effect.

Like any other public internet user, I’ve had my share of these nasties. Sometimes it hurts. But today, I was left pondering.

A negative comment, posted on a thread for no discernible reason other than to be negative. Nothing productive, just nastiness. From someone who’d previously been friendly, to boot.

So… what should I do? Laugh, perhaps, at the waste of that person’s time. I wasn’t really bothered, and can certainly move on with no ill effect. It’ll vanish in the morass of data soon enough.

But how about this: I take that negativity and transform it. I write about it here, using that tiny flame to become useful inspiration. To share my pondering about what twisted muse made that person post such a a thing publicly… and how to best react to it without ‘feeding’.

I’m seeing a lot of positive transformation going on today. From marches to bring about awareness of NHS privatisation, to a kind lady who helped me in the shops while raising funds for a women’s charity. To friends refusing the ‘ice-bucket challenge’ in favour of actively working for or donating to charity without all the unnecessary publicity (as I do). No guilt or dissension – active doing.

We could rant and rave, becoming trolls ourselves, warping our passion and genuine feeling into knee-jerk ravings. Or we could consider our words and then speak, listen, act. Inspiration, not guilt.

Which argument do you think will be listened to? Which words will be heard – the angry one-sided bile or the thoughtful, fair discussion? Your actions speak for you, after all. What messages are we putting out into the world?

So, to paraphrase my troll, perhaps I am up my own arse, only seeking publicity by my self-important witterings. You don’t need to tell me that by the way; I worry about how these posts sound all the time!

Or perhaps I’m simply doing my best, in my small way. Taking responsibility and attempting to help rather than knock down.

Which is, to me, the best response I can make.

Ancestral Work

This morning, I cast my vote in the European and UK Council elections.

This evening, we experienced a huge thunderstorm, resulting in power cuts.

I’ve been thinking about how so much of what we do in our lives is pretty much the same as our ancestors did. The format or technology might be slightly different, but motivations, actions and meaning haven’t changed as much as we might think.

My democratic mark was made with pencil on paper. I watched in awe as the weather moved past. I prepared candles, books and creativity to keep my evening busy. The simplicity of it was inspiring.

We eat, sleep, interact and go about our days as humans have always done. Every day, we honour our ancestors by these actions. Rather than becoming dejected at the lack of change, I think our constant exploration and discovery, as individuals and communities (be they lone and shared experiences), is rather wonderful.

Still moving, indeed.