One of the great joys in life is scrolling through the comment feeds on the various social media platforms and reading the discussions that take place between "fans" and "trolls." For me personally, it's almost as enjoyable as a root canal or fingernails on a chalkboard.
No matter how entertaining it is to you personally, I hope you understand that you can't just decide to become a troll yourself one day. It takes years of practice and hard work. Luckily for you, I am an expert observer in this field (at least according to my Facebook degree) and I am willing to let you in on the well kept secret that is Internet Trolling.
To save myself some referencing on quotes, I will tell you that I found all the quotes I use in this post by using the the great Google Machine. If you don't know how to do that, you can click HERE for a brief tutorial. That, or ask someone in a comment feed, There is no shortage of experts there.
As with many things in life, you have to walk before you can fly. In the case of internet trolling, the educational equivalent to elementary school would be the backseat driver.
A Backseat Driver is “a passenger in a vehicle who is not controlling the vehicle but who excessively comments on the driver’s actions and decisions in an attempt to control the vehicle.”
Your baby steps in this process simply begin with telling other people what to do. In my house, we call the preschool version of this being "Little Miss Bossy Pants." I'm assuming that you passed that class before you reached the age of five, so I I'm going to skip right over it.
Feeling the great sense of "control" telling the driver what they should be doing differently or pointing out everything they did wrong will really fuel your passion for future trolling. Learning how to be a backseat driver before you even step foot in Driver's Ed is a huge plus.
Once you master the baby steps of backseat driving, you're ready for middle school. Or as it's more often called, the armchair quarterback.
An Armchair Quarterback is “a person who offers advice or an opinion on something in which they have no expertice or involvement.”
Being am armchair quarterback isn't all that different from backseat driving. I just like to think of it as a refinement of your backseat driving skills. Let's face it, a monkey could drive a car. It doesn't take that much skill to know when to stop, turn, read a speed limit sign, etc. Quarterbacking takes some skill.
As the armchair quarterback, you are responsible for trying to advise a professional how to do something you yourself are completely incompetent at. Once again, the more comfortable you get with this prior to moving to the next stage, the better off you'll be in the end.
Just like the transition from middle school to high school isn't that much of a stretch, neither is your advancement to Monday morning quarterback.
A Monday Morning Quarterback is “someone who is always criticizing and saying how he would have done something better or differently after the event has passed.”
The high school level is where you take what you learned in middle school, build on it and add a bit or arrogance and spitfire. You are now not only responsible for correcting a more adequately skilled person's actions, but you also need to have the nerve to do it after the fact. That's particularly important if you have the stones to say it to their face....but we'll get to that part later.
College, oh glorious college. You are now almost in the real world. You have your first sense of real freedom. You feel like you're a real life adult with an opinion that matters. You are now ready to become a Facebook Warrior.
A Facebook Warrior is “someone who posts on Facebook about all their ideals and causes....without doing any real work.”
Just like in college, you know you're changing the world just by what you are becoming. The only problem is that you're still technically in school. You may talk a big game about how you're pre-med, pre-law or pre-troll, but until you graduate you're just blowing smoke. You haven't really done anything to "fix the world" yet.
There is a little bit of prestige with your new college level status of Facebook warrior. I've even seen the fancy badges and awards....on Facebook. If earning your Facebook warrior badge doesn't get your juices flowing at this point, you'll never make it as a troll.
Assuming you can handle the next step, you'll move on to get your Master's degree that provides you will full keyboard commando rights.
A Keyboard Commando is “someone who acts tough behind a keyboard online, but can't say the same things in real life.”
You now have a great handle on your education thus far, but truth be told, it's just book knowledge. You have yet to get any real life experience. Because of this, you will fight the good fight from behind your keyboard and in the safety of you're own home.
This stage is where most people tap out. They either find they just can't cut it or they don't have the arrogant, all-knowing, greater-than-thee mentality needed to make the next step. But, if you got it, you're golden. You can pack your bags and hit the consulting and speech circuit because you're ready for your PhD. A full blown internet troll.
An Internet Troll is “a person whose sole purpose in life is to seek out people to argue with on the internet over extremely trivial issues.”
OK, so maybe I got a little fast and loose with the whole "pack your bags" part because an internet troll is by definition stuck on the internet. The difference that your PhD in trolling will make is that you KNOW you're always right. You KNOW everyone wants to hear the real truth from you. You KNOW it is your responsibility to troll the internet looking for people to argue with....I mean educate.
It is possible to take these abilities out into the real world, but it's not quite as common. I can't list the words people will use to describe you if you did because this is a family friendly blog and all. You will also more than likely be put in your place, physically, before too long. It takes a little more than blocking a user and logging off the computer to get out of a battle you suddenly realize is over your head.
So as you're out scrolling through your favorite social media news feeds, pay attention. It won't take long for you to become an expert observer of trolling like me. After all, if I can do it, so can a monkey. Kinda like driving a car. Then again, we do have some pretty awful drivers out there. Maybe that should be my next post. Until next time....