Why I Fight with Internet Activists on Purpose

Anonymous trolls provide incredible insights

This is a very important part of why I am involved in social media; to dig deep into the dirty underbelly of engagement, but I didn’t know that purpose until I dove into it head first. I found a chance to have real conversations with other people who are extremely passionate through #farm365 on Twitter. I have learned so much from this experience.

Being accused of baiting a conversation after I made a blog post about my first interactions with an internet activist (which happened to be the accuser) caused me to think deeply about how the conversations I had with her as well as other activists could actually be used to help educate agriculturalists on the perspectives of those opposed to its various facets and in different ways. Those on the ‘front lines’ of the hashtag highjack battle do their utmost to show the realities of farming and defend their way of life directly to the people who buy into the ad campaigns against them.

There was so much preparation for the endless arguments that I didn’t even know I had, but found in myself when I let my passion for animal agriculture shine. I was thankful for my year of speech and debate as well as my time in FFA in high school, and for my extensive education in animal science which I now hold my bachelor’s degree for. Having experience with the nature of argumentation as well as the knowledge and resources to defend my position helped, but arguing also taught me so much more. Remembering that there was really a human on the other side of this twitter account called Anonymous Vegan and that I needed to connect with them on a personal level, just as the propaganda they first experienced did, was the key to success and respectful conversations.

My original goal was to simply defend animal agriculture, but I soon learned that the insight I could gain from the vegan perspective was so much more valuable than any farmer seemed to realize at the time. Too many agvocates, in my opinion, took no action and simply watched from afar as the (sometimes literal) shit show started to unfold. Gaining the perspective of the opposition has allowed me to definitively craft my own arguments against them, and I don’t understand why other agvocates don’t see the value in this argumentation. What I have been able to achieve simply by doing some “internet agriculture,” is to harvest their arguments, gather them all together, and write a comprehensive refutation as a resource for others.

Are there trolls in your industry? Could there be a way that engaging with them and understanding their perspective could benefit you?

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