Hey liberal friends I need you to put the latte down and take 2 minutes before you pick your kids up and take a beat. I know your life is busy and stressful. However, if we keep trundling down this path, we are headed to a critical junction. We need your help to stop this situation before we end up in a global war. In order to do that, we need to crib you up on social media trolling and how it has evolved to work over the last couple of years in the geopolitical landscape.
I know what you’re going to say. “I use Facebook and Instagram and understand social.” If you think this, you really need to keep reading because you have been left behind. These factions are largely on other platforms by now. We know you’ve had a few busy years. We get it but if you want your kids to have a future where people are tolerant, the time to pay attention is now. Online culture is rapidly shifting and the cues are so different you can not read and do not understand them quick enough to stop the slaughter of people IRL.
It’s time to catch up and get hip to this nonsense. Let me, your nerdy friend, help you out. I promise I will not try and sit with you in the cafeteria but we can still be cool in the halls ok?
How do I know all of this? The fascist, racist pigs came for us, the geeky women and people of color, first. We told you they were dangerous but you only half listened to our warning. Somewhere between saying the words video and games we lost your full attention. Now they have put Trump in the Whitehouse, can we please focus here?
First, know they use more than a few names, alt-right is just one of them. In science fiction, they were sad puppies. In games, they were first known by gamergate. They thrived online in places like reddit, 4chan, 8chan, Daily Stormer, Twitch and Kotaku in Action before moving to more private, locked venues. Their stated aim was to waste our time and impact our psychological health through repeated attacks. To do this, they deploy a few strategies you need to understand; they are still using them and you’re falling for them in much the same way we did. Here is a list of trolling tactics you really need to be aware of and know how to deal with when they arise.
Appear logical and open the time vortex
If you want to see a good example of this, go read the Google bro’s letter. He isn’t shouting. He’s not screaming. He’s calmly stating a really radically broken ideology which has a logical frame around it until you apply actual facts to it. He wants you to spend time dealing with him and his nonsense. This argument is really hard to deal with because it has got the guise of discussion and bait you will engage with. Warning now, he does not want to change. He wants to waste your mental energy. That is his bait. He wants your attention. He will find ways to lead you again and again into exhaustion. Hate comes disguised as logical debate. Guess what you can’t do while debating them? Impact real change.
Keep your hands clean
This is the tactic of having 2 (or more) accounts, one public and one or more which is anonymous. They say and do very different things. One might even be having a conversation which looks logical while the other attacks you. Some accounts exist only to harasses people. Also, this can be someone who has two faces in person. When some people are in the room they act one way and when you are alone with them they act another. If a person who has a marginalised status tells you this is happening, believe it. It is. The counter to this is doxxing the anon account and linking it back to their real life. At work or in social settings, feel free to record and screen capture people. I now am. Do not trust. This is why unmasking the Nazis is important. They are used to being able to deny their hate in different contexts when it suits them. Because of their privilege, they can get away with it. Don’t allow it.
Signalling as Intimidation
Signalling is a way of dropping hints people in the know within communities pick up on to raise or align their social standing. This is functionally like shouting hate on the street to people adept in social but it’s not something you can take to HR or point out as hate speech to people who don’t get where we are at online. This is something these people do that liberals who don’t live online just don’t get and that is tremendously dangerous. If someone is signalling an ideology and a member of a marginalised group picks up on it and is upset by it, believe them. They are expressing real affiliations which are threatening and dangerous to the other person.
Claim to be the victim
This one will take the cake. They do it when they know they have done something wrong and you’ve finally shouted back or stood up for what you believe in. I am now of the opinion that if you are a person of color, woman or queer person and you refuse to be treated like trash, you’ll been called a bully by one of these men in the last 2 years. This is a new, odious strategy to discredit us to other liberals who can’t read social cues connected to online spaces. If you fall for this one you can become their allies in persecuting us out of a place where we rightfully belong. If you see a white man hold up the, “I am being bullied” sign realise he’s most likely the aggressor and finally it has backfired on him.
Ok Lib Dems, consider yourselves educated on the bare bones basics of trolling.
My deeply traumatised heart can’t take much more of this. From the very bottom of my soul I am pleading with you to get it together before this gets any worse. Have you ever lived through a year were every single person you had mentored, loved and supported was threatened to be raped or murdered? Have you ever had to go to work afraid for your safety? Have you? Because I have. There are no two sized of this coin. There is only right and wrong.
This new found faction is going nowhere. They are getting a ridiculous amount of momentum yet again right now. Stop giving these people interview time by repeatedly sharing stories where they are given a voice. Stop supporting media covering them in any way other than with total and complete condemnation. Every single second of air time we give one online to express their view point on a credible platform, we raise 100 more who want to be just like him/her and be in the limelight. These social spaces are sculpting the futures your children will live in. Every link you click tells news businesses what voices you want amplified. Every time you play the Google bro interview or watch a video of a Nazi crying about his sad life, you tell CNN you want to see more of this. They will make it. That amplification will continue and they will rise up new members to their ranks. This process is called red pilling. That will shape the reality in which we live. I am not saying to ignore it. Condemn it.
Google sees you in the dark clicking away at 2am when you can’t sleep. They are tracking your data and selling it to companies using it to create media buy choices. Be smart, the time has come to vote with your selection and taste. If we don’t alter course rather quickly, you’ll see your children, friends and family in jail cells. Is that what you want? I don’t think so.