The other day I was on YouTube going through my subscriptions, also known as killing time and boredom. One of my guilty pleasures is Wendy Williams and the ‘Hot Topic’ segment of her daytime talk show. Celebrity gossip isn’t the first thing I seek when I have free time but do indulge here and there, actually, only with Wendy. I am rarely home when her live show airs but I stay updated with the help of her online channel. On this particular day, Williams had Kathy Griffin on as a guest, who I adore more and also follow every which way I can, a win-win moment for me.
When I finished the clip, like usual, I scrolled down the page to leave a comment and read others. Many people recommend not to look in the opinion section of any platform because of the high probability of “Internet Troll” negativity. Honestly, I appreciate the comment portion, especially for videos and news articles, because I enjoy group conversation over things relevant to me. For this particular interview, I left a simple sentence expressing my love for Kathy Griffin: “Love love love Kathy! I’m happy she’s still working and making us laugh.” After, I read more comments and quickly noticed the same person left a ton of unrelated replies that were insulting and unnecessary, eventually receiving my very own ‘STFU’. I did speak out.
There are many more throughout the feed from faceless sara and I did go back and forth with this anonymous person about being kind until he or she attacked my manhood. A few others online also left words for sara and dealt with petty responses that are provocative and demeaning. My last cent in it all went down on a concluding rant!
Again, suspecting a foggy troll like this could ever cause more harm beyond the keyboard sounds a bit farfetched. Yet, there have been countless moments when an online entity caused a tragedy or controversy, as recent as this year: Texan suicide, Luciana Berger, Babak Taherzadeh, President-Elect Donald Trump.
Now, with talks of international hacking, private digital storage, the future of “being on the grid” which entails eerie technology, as well as cryptic communication that many use, like foreign and homegrown terrorists, there should be more control and identity policies, since being on the web opens us up for more dangers, from small and personal issues to global disaster. Also, users have to be wiser, stronger and more knowledgeable of the internet galaxy, though, a humble environment should be guaranteed and supported. Monica Lewinsky spoke of an ideal standard for life on the web:
“Rather than trying to clean up our messes ex post facto, we can consider engendering empathic responses and creating environments in social media that, from their initial designs, foster support, compassion, and community. Bake empathy into the cake rather than frosting it later.”
The internet is an amazing invention and tool, but lately has gotten ugly and dark, closing Pandora’s box, leaving out the privilege and fun I consider it to be. The “troll” surely doesn’t help subside the amounting hatred and rage for control here in US society. Not long ago, Microsoft created an interesting AI chatbot that grew to be quite the character in only 24 hours. The bot, Tay, made to be super impressionable, was put on Twitter and allowed to interact with US citizens. A day later, Tay turned into a Trump-loving racist.
So, just like in real life, the dominate issues are the lack of decency, decorum and respect for fellow neighbors and the rampant ego of the past, now allowed to be anything and travel without moving. Having strict safety regulations like, simply, posting an accurate profile comparable to a driver’s license and disabling “trolls” from web usage can do wonders for us all. This “change” needs to happen on the internet because it is a great place for criminals to hide and wreak havoc. The reformation can eventually push improvement in humanity and brotherhood, which rests on us all, no matter what is involved.
If anyone agrees with me, pass on the opinion, be aware of and vote on any related bills and notify your government officials, local to federal, as much as necessary.
Good luck and be safe!