Growing up in Lagos meant i was very wary of ‘Sharpshooters’. By Sharpshooters, I refer to individuals exceptionally talented at dishing out insults or calling people out for some reason. And I wasn’t the only one. People like that had reputations that preceded them. They were everywhere, a student at school, a vegetable seller at the market, an usher in church, your mother (if you were unlucky because then you would have to live with it everyday) You lived in constant fear of hitting a nerve and having their barbs rain down on you (and if there were onlookers, well….) So they were respected but not really liked (except they were on your side at a showdown)
However, there is something to be said for someone gutsy enough to stand up to their opponent/rival/hater/hatee, look him or her in the eye and lay shit bare. And that’s what makes Internet Trolling so annoying. The way some individuals spend time devising new methods of attacking people and instigating online wars. I know trolling exists in most parts of the world now but considering that a huge part of Nigerian culture is so hinged on respect, it’s astonishing to see Nigerians adopting online bullying. A single picture on popular sites like Lindaikeji.blogspot.com or BellaNaija.com can result in a deluge of lies, best forgotten memories and hallucinations all over the web with fingers pointing at parents, siblings and even friends. Posts showcasing personal style quickly becomes a free-for-all where people point out flab, love handles, clothes on sales in Dorothy Perkins and other such petty issues.
Trolling is often viewed as fun by the Trolls but it is simply the lowest form of bullying which says a lot since nothing is lower than bulying! In many countres, this kind of harassment and bullying has led to countless suicides, depression and paranoia. There’s something saddening about people who don’t take time to consider the import of their comments or posts before posting. it’s so easy to be the faceless person dishing out insults when nobody can find you. Why not troll on Facebook using your real profile and see if you don’t get called out? Some trolls will argue about freedom of speech. Tell Nigerian Police that when they stop you on the road or Lastma when they threaten you with everything from a tsunami to life imprisonment.
It’s not o.k to troll celebrities either even though you think that they have assistants handling their online posts or you think that they are too thick skinned to care. I watched Denrele Edun’s Ndani interview with Toolz after Goldie’s passing and it wasnt difficult to see how angry he was about the intense bullying she suffered following her eviction from the Big Brother Africa house. He described how depressing it was for her. I know many consider Denrele quite the drama queen but you could tell he was really pissed at what the online reaction did to her. It made him disregard online sympathy at her death because he was still pained about the trolling. Celebrities are human too and you are wrong if you argue that the publicity is good for them. Not that kind. Definitely not the kind that can make them consider suicide as an option.
Mentally, I always picture Trolls as empty-minded people steeped in sadness, desperately miserable and looking to transfer their misery unto other people. YOU WANT TO BE FRANK ONLINE? Go on FB, post about your experiences on the pages of organizations with bad service, companies that need to tweak this or that and share rave reviews about businesses that deserve praise. leave them your $ .02, start petitions and boycott them if you like but there’s nothing commendable about trolling the internet seeking whom to devour.
And that’s the thing about hate, it always manages to devour both the Hatee and the Hater.
P.S: I was in Ikoyi a while ago and there was this truck driving right in front of the car i was in, the truck started weaving in a really dangerous way and the driver completely ignored our honks. I’ had heard really terrible stories about truckers( a friend of mine lost her husband in such a situation) so i was a bit scared) Anyway there was this sign on the truck:
”How do you like my Driving? Any complaints- Call *********
So I called. Or i tried to call.
Guess what? The number did not exist on the blahblah network because One digit was missing from the phone number on the sign! I definitely didn’t think it was unintentional. I did not think it was possible for everyone to have missed that number.
I should have stormed the company’s Facebook page and posted about it but i didn’t.
I should have.
- Trolling Privilege (wiihfellows.wordpress.com)
- When Trolls don’t get their way (gadgetnibble.com)
- Dealing with Trolls and Negative Comments (bizsugar.com)