Internet Bridges, Trolling and the Billy Goats Gruff

02 Mar

Although some could argue that the internet today is a shadow of it’s original inception (“Cotton candy” tabloid news, a new point of economic industry, porn), the very basic goal of the world wide web remains functionally intact.  It is a tool that two people can use to communicate.

However, what is the most common message?  Is it a positive message or is negative one?  Are people using their new cellphones to say anything relevant at all?

It’s a good question, and is there a way to best utilize the community sourcing that is out today?

Wiki on the Internet:

Similar to the way having a phone to reach someone is generally assured (eg> ‘why not just call the person’), the internet is can likewise almost assuredly reach a specific person today.  If one comments on a Hollywood actor’s twitter account, it’s a reasonably high degree of success that someone in that camp might pass a long the message.

What do we say?  What masterful words of expression do we find within ourselves?

We end up finding the “Celebrities read mean tweets about themselves” on Jimmy Kimmel.

And we discover trolling.  What is trolling?

It isn’t related to Fantasy Trolls, who are big mean and threaten goats on bridges, it is to ‘fish by trailing a baited line behind a boat.’  It is effectively to leave a comment to bait other individuals to respond.  Either to agree, disagree, make laugh, white knighting or just to show off the meat inside your skull.

Luckily, there is a youtube channel that explains a great deal about internet terminologies in general named ‘Know your meme’.  Let’s see what its listed there:

Troll baiting, a ‘next leveling’ in response to trolling.

Ok, so that is the closest thing I could find on that channel but it does explain trolling in the first minute.

What happened?  Well, nothing new.  Comedians, satirists, critics, armchair versions of the above, have been doing this sort of thing for a while.  However, these are often related to an occupation and this probably stems to people on an individual level.

Let’s go to a very basic level of human understanding, the survival instinct.  Behave in one particular manner and you survive, behave in another and things aren’t looking too good.  So what tendencies are important for survival?

For the loner, the one who must do everything themselves, it seems perfectly natural to be overly protective, paranoid of others and being a jerk (eg> stealing from others).  This mindset gets turned on its head when one is placed into a social structure where community has a much greater strength.  Building / maintaining a shelter can be separated among several individuals (eg> uh, a barn raising) as opposed to hacking it out oneself.

However, the concept of ‘alone’ versus not alone is not specifically based upon whether or not the person is physically isolated but rather if they are socially isolated.  However, doesn’t the internet make certain aspects of social isolation obsolete?

In conjunction with the survival aspect, how does one improve ‘survival’ when one is placed within a social group?  The basic means would most likely be advancement through favorable comparison, to be ‘better’ than the next person goes in hand with a better odds of survival in the group.  (Let’s take the overly obvious ‘mating’ rituals out, although for many people, it is this aspect alone that they might pursue as a means of being considered better than others thus improving survival rate)

And then finally we reach a post result of being judged by others to begin with.  That within all social groups, there is the aspect of judging one poorly or without favor.  So trolling, or judging others unfavorably, can become a survival tool if it makes one own self appear more favorable as a result.

In the Three Billy Goats Gruff, a Norwegian fairy tale, the goats defeat the troll by downplaying themselves to be insignificant until the largest goat is able to cross the bridge and knock the troll off.  It is both in line with feeding the ego of the antagonist while introducing the benefits of being humble.  This story will come up again shortly.

The ‘life survival’ summary is a bit high level, could it be something more?  Simply put, if one was not in fear of being considered low tier, then the discrimination that would accompany needing to tear down others might not occur so frequently.

The strongest way to give people a sense of strength or confidence might just turn out to be the need to be ‘built up’, to be flattered by individuals.  However, in order for someone to receive consistent or daily doses of positive attention, would require being in constant contact with a social system willing to do so.

Shouldn’t this be what the next step for the internet to become?  A virtual social integration of positive attitudes?

However, instead of it to ‘throw the troll’ off the bridge this mutual ego feeding should be utilized as a means to let people know something positive about themselves.  That they are important, that when they do X, it is good for everyone else and that this kind of random ‘reverse trolling’ would be beneficial for everyone.

It seems quite counter intuitive to believe that flattery could be used in a beneficial way outside of some ‘this person is trying to be manipulative’ kind of way however this is simply a norm that society has developed.  It is damaging to flatter the number one spot as they might become cocky, reckless or detached.  On the other hand, there are all the other spots that could use it.  And being the best at one thing might not require attention but in something else may.

If I was to make a guess, on the long term side of the internet, possibly a few hundred years from now there might be a discovery of some abstract interaction that is common among all cultures.  And that this abstract interaction uplifts spirit or attitude where people actually feel happy / proud / not in a state of desperation.  It would be around this time that the internet could provide the kind of social evolution that so many dreamers had though it could be.


PS> “This is the flattery project.  I’d like to try to flatter you.  You read blogs and that proves that you are curious, patient and best of all open to new possibilities.  Thank you for being that way.”

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Posted by on March 2, 2013 in Uncategorized


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