Let’s talk Twitter and Trolls and Dinner Parties, shall we?

trolls

When Twitter came out a few years ago – with Ashton Kutcher and Ellen Degeneres being celeb pioneers – I thought it was a pretty sad concept.

Sad, as in loser sad.

I mean. It just seemed so absurd to me. You had 140 characters to speak your mind, so I just assumed the quality of tweets would be akin to those irritating Facebook status updates. You know, stuff like Ugh. I Feel so fat today or This weather sucks balls! or Just had the best cappuccino. Here’s a pic!

I wondered if we really needed another social media platform for people to be able to just thought-vomit?

@katcaravella

How things change.

It’s 2014 and I’m a total tweet-vomiter. Or maybe not. Actually, I hope I’m not. But I love to Tweet. And I love to read Tweets.

And I totally discovered that Twitter and Social Media is not at all sad, or bad. And people often have really great things to say. Intelligent things. Funny things. Thoughtful things. Sometimes, I even have tweet envy. I read an awesome tweet and think that was so perfectly constructed and totally rad and so I retweet it.

Spread the Twitter love, people.

And it’s my go-to for news. My timeline contains not only daily, breaking news, but the 140-character opinions of intelligent tweeps I follow as well. It’s like a mammoth news forum that keeps you stimulated and thinking every time you have a sticky beak.

It can also be totally hilarious. If you find other tweeps with similar interests (shout out to the Real Housewives of Twitter) it can keep you highly entertained when you have a few spare minutes in your frantic day to talk a bit of smack and have a laugh.

airport

I once worked at an airport 

And I used to think that people were just arseholes because they are travelling and rushing and panicked and freaking out and maybe even scared of planes.

And I would forgive the 83rd person for the day that hurled abuse at me because they had to leave their nail clippers behind because airports bring out the worst in people and I’m sure they are lovely at home.

But then I became active on social media and quickly realised that no, airports do not bring out the worst in people. Social Media does.

Another one bites the dust

Sunday saw the first ever Real Housewives of Melbourne Reunion aired – with designer Alex Perry as the host. And while I – as a totally devoted Real Housewives fanatic – too found it weird to watch Alex try reign in the crazy (given I’m a huge fan of Andy Cohen, the reunion host of the US versions) I think he did a pretty decent job at it.

But apparently others didn’t agree and within 24 hours his twitter account was closed.

Defining a troll

What exactly is a troll? Andrea Moss, a Real Housewife of Melbourne, mentioned at the reunion that she had learned to cope with Twitter Trolls and has even made them come around once they know the facts.

Which leads me to wonder if she’s referring to Trolls as those that simply disagree with her, or real, proper, vicious Trolls that relentlessly attack using the power of their anonymity.

Real Trolls don’t come around. They take pleasure in vile outbursts aimed at those they don’t know and without valid reason.

Real Trolls don’t just disagree with you. They can wish you harm; they can threaten your life. They can say things that they wouldn’t dream of, face to face, without the comforts of their keyboard, tablet, phone and obvious sadness and/or insecurities that made them this bitter and twisted.

216329-twitter-troll

Twitter and Social Media are magnificent tools but do we pay a price for freedom of speech?

With every tweet that rocks my world, I see one that mortifies me.

With every tweet that links me to an article or blog that will touch my heart or make me belly laugh, I’ll see one that riles me up to the point of day ruined.

Social media give us the power to be publishers, and because it’s just so easy to speak our minds, we often do it with no filter. We have the ability to immediately (and often innocently) publish our poor experience at a restaurant in 140 characters – but where does that leave the hard working owners that just happen to have a dud waitress? We can criticise the weight gain of a celebrity – but where does that leave regular people really struggling with their own body image?

I often write about the power of words. And I’m not naive enough to think this post will make a difference to any troll that may stumble across it because to them, perhaps spewing hate gets them through the day. As awful and horrifying as that sounds.

But how wonderful would social media be if we thought about every Tweet and Facebook comment like we would as a guest at a dinner party – where our words are a representation of ourselves, as people.

Have you had any experience with Social Media trolls? Or are you one and WHY, PUNK?

All comments read, appreciated and responded to. So thank you x
  • Adele Chapman

    This is a fantastic post, Kat. I like to go by Kelly Exeter’s great manifesto: “act like you would if life (and the internet!) was one big dinner party with the queen. Be polite. Be Respectful. Be nice.”

    • http://www.mammasvida.com.au/ Kat Caravella – Mamma’s Vida

      Hi Adele, thank you for visiting and for your comment. Kelly says it perfectly – as always!

      • Renee

        I have to disagree! Sometimes things get heated in a robust argument. I certainly don’t want to always behave like I’m at a dinner party with the Queen! I don’t want things too sanitized.

  • Ms_MotorbikeNut

    Quick comment today as I’m not feeling all that well.

    One of the many reasons I have my account locked and as soon as one any starts to act like on troll (if following me) I quickly block them which means they really can’t get to me it’s like turning the other check in real life.

    (((( Hugs )))) XXXX Kisses XXXX

    • http://www.mammasvida.com.au/ Kat Caravella – Mamma’s Vida

      Ms Motorbike Nut – I’m sorry you aren’t feeling well and thank you for taking the time to comment. I think your blocking method is spot on – if you sense a troll then turning the other cheek is the best way xx

  • http://hemborgwife.wordpress.com/ Bailie @ The Hemborg Wife

    What a great post, right before clicking on this link from Twitter I was tweeting with someone on how snarky comments are just not a necessary part of life but sadly a reality of it.

    • http://www.mammasvida.com.au/ Kat Caravella – Mamma’s Vida

      Hi Bailie, thank you for your comment and I’m so glad this post resonated with you. Snarky comments are (unfortunately) a part of life and perhaps we are all guilty of them from time to time. I think it’s just about keeping it real without being vicious or malicious.

  • Renee

    I love how you brought up that Andrea (+lots of other people) might be referring to people who simply disagree with them as ‘trolls’. It’s like the word ‘bullying’, lots of people throw the word around merely if someone says something they don’t like! It’s ridiculous and cheapens the words. I have to say that I think there is a HUGE beat up over Alex Perry closing his twitter account. Lots of people saying he was forced/had to close it. Well, no – he chose to and I think it was the right decision. I think he’s just waiting for the storm to calm and he’ll be back. I don’t think he was ‘scared’ off twitter and is rocking in a corner somewhere, he just wanted, I believe, to send a message – I’m not listening, f off! I’ve seen him give as good as he gets. I’m not condoning the offensive tweets he got, I’m just saying Perry knows how to handle these things – he wasn’t forced off twitter or scared off, he chose to just give it a break. I think he was smart about it. I don’t know what some are so horrified about.

    • http://www.mammasvida.com.au/ Kat Caravella – Mamma’s Vida

      Hi Renee, thank you for your comment. I agree that sometimes calling someone a troll is done too flippantly and almost discourages any form of disagreement (which is completely normal and acceptable if done the right way) I’m not sure if the AP thing is a beat up but I don’t doubt for a minute that ‘real’ trolls harassed him that day, whether it affected him or not. I think this post is less about Alex Perry but more about just saying ‘express your opinion, disagree, like isn’t perfect, but don’t be vile.’

      • Renee

        Agree about not being vile, like you, I’ve come across tweets which make my heart sing and others which literally sicken me. I guess I’m just a bit worried about people taking things too far and screaming ‘troll’ and ‘bully’ at everything and thus stifling debate. I was on Facebook recently and someone wrote on a pic of a former Big Brother contestant – ‘I don’t really like your dress’. She was then hounded about being a bully!? Sure, it wasn’t nice or necessary to write what she did but come on! I also saw a former Biggest Loser contestant being asked politely by a fan why she didn’t have a more recent photo of herself on the diet book she was selling instead of one which was 2 years old. The former TBL contestant responded by saying that she didn’t have to answer to sick trolls, it was none of her business and to shut up?! I think a lot of people are being overly sensitive at the moment. Anyway, sorry for rambling – promise I won’t make too many long winded comments on your blog. I had a good look yesterday and am really liking it – lots of interesting things to read!

        • http://www.mammasvida.com.au/ Kat Caravella – Mamma’s Vida

          Yes – there are definitely instances where being called a bully or a troll are not called for. And thank you – I always love long winded comments and appreciate you taking the time! Glad you are so far enjoying my blog, welcome any time :)

  • Lee-Anne Walker

    What a clever and interesting post, Kat.

    I completely agree that we should always maintain our manners and decorum in all our interactions, via social media or otherwise. When others disagree we should be civil, even though we may feel a little miffed or ruffled. The dinner party analogy is good because it reminds us how face-to-face contact civilises us, whereas often the anonymity of social media allows us to forget this for a moment and be rude.

    XX

    • http://www.mammasvida.com.au/ Kat Caravella – Mamma’s Vida

      Hi Lee-Anne – thank you for the kind words.
      Manners are completely free and you always feel better about an argument or disagreement if you do it cleanly – whether on the internet or not xx

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  • Pinky Poinker

    Sometimes people have taken something I’ve tweeted the wrong way and sent me a slightly angry reply but I’ve always managed to calm them down. I’d never intentionally publish anything mean or too critical. Twitter is great fun I agree Kat. I’ve some fantastic tweeps from all over the world. Great thoughtful post!

    • http://www.mammasvida.com.au/ Kat Caravella – Mamma’s Vida

      Hi Pinky! I reckon I’ve been guilty of that too – offending someone unintentionally. I guess that’s the written word, right? The tone in which you write it can get lost along the way… And agree – if you are dealing a likeminded person, you can always explain yourself. I love twitter and the people/blogs I’ve found along the way! (you included!) xx

  • http://www.kellyexeter.com.au/ Kelly Exeter

    I am a huge fan of social media (as you know) and believe the place it falls down is that it allows throwaway lines – you know, the ones that you’d only ever make in the presence of your friends – to be broadcast to millions. And if you think about the throwaway things we’ve all said … they’re all usually about people we don’t know. And they’re things that we’d never say to that person’s face … or we’d not say them if we knew they were a friend of someone we’re talking to.

    So while social media is terrible for this, it has actually taught me how damaging those throwaway lines can be (ie when the person something is being said about responds!) … and as a result, I don’t make them any more.

    So it’s an interesting world we live in right now isn’t it? So much more scope for causing hurt … but also so much more scope for learning and being educated … and thus becoming better people ourselves.

    (Does this make any sense? I am so tired!)

    • http://www.mammasvida.com.au/ Kat Caravella – Mamma’s Vida

      Hi Kelly! I completely agree about the throwaway comments, as sometimes we say things that are out of emotion and without thought. That’s the most tempting thing about SM – you have that ability to vent worldwide!! But I think it’s equally important to remain who we are as well, even if it means our opinions aren’t always completely positive towards everyone and everything. As long as they are said in the right way of course (including the fact that you would say the exact same thing to the person’s face and not just behind a keyboard)

      And it totally made sense – you did so well tired! Always a great voice of reason Kelly xx

      • http://www.kellyexeter.com.au/ Kelly Exeter

        Yes that’s so right. We don’t need to ‘never say anything bad’ … it’s more we need to say things – good and bad- in the way we’d say it to that person’s face.

  • Miss Lou

    Great post :)

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