Trolls in Cyberspace: The New Road Rage

The term ‘troll’ originated in mythical lore at ugly beings that were grotesque and up to no good, and the term ‘road rage’ originated in modern times with the advent of automobiles and concentrated traffic on highways. Both terms have come into play in cyberspace as ‘trolls’ have populated almost every form of social media looking for ways to stir up discontent and provoke arguments.  A troll hides behind anonymity as an unknown person on a computer, just as those who are subject to road rage, release pent up frustration and anger on unsuspecting motorists by calling names and verbally abusing their fellow travelers. It is as if the Troll and the person venting road rage, both are projecting their own anger and sense of inadequacy by ‘picking’ on others to make themselves feel better.

If you have ever encountered this type behavior, it may have been puzzling to see the enormity of rage vented upon people. I was reading an online interview depicting a woman who had lost her son in death and the interviewer questioned her about how she managed to cope. The comments that followed were a true reflection of the compassion that most people are naturally capable of; however, there were a few trolls who actually demeaned the woman as a celebrity whose money and privilege supposedly exempted her form having the right to suffer pain. One troll mercilessly attacked her, entitling her response as ‘Oh Booowhooo” poor you with all your money!’.

If is a shame that some allow their own negative emotions and inadequacies in life to rob them of all natural affection, thus remove them one step away from civility and humanity. No wonder the term ‘troll’ is so fitting.


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