The article We’re the reason we can’t have nice things on the internet, from Quartz Media, makes a great point with the second section of the post. Part 2 is titled “Stop Incentivizing Problematic Online Behavior”, and the main argument is that media coverage creates publicity and attention for the trolls, which is exactly what they are after. We have all seen it before – the mass media fixates on one social media phenomenon for a week, never letting the subject go – but when the phenomenon is a troll, the media is doing exactly what the troll wants. Trolls rely on responses to survive, for if their is no response then their incendiary tweet, post, or share fades into ignored obscurity on the depths of the internet. Media coverage of trolling efforts bring attention to these inflammatory posts, prompting people to respond to them and thus giving new breath to it. This is what the author means when she writes, “Every retweet, comment, like, and share extends the life of a given story. So we need to pay careful attention to what we share and spread online” (Phillips 2015).
Fixing this problem is not as simple as it seems. The media cannot simply stop covering these stories – it is their job to do so. The author realizes this, and encourages people to look over their posts and responses so as not to unintentionally give life to a trolling maneuver. She suggests this on an individual level, however, and in our new age of omnipresent technology, we need a cultural shift to truly solve the problem. My parents used to tell me to say something in my head 3 times before speaking it out loud if I thought there was any chance of it being rude. Today’s parents need to teach a similar lesson on social media. It sounds cliche, but today’s parents will mold the next generation, so they have the ability to shape manners on social media. With any luck, they can help decrease the success of trolling in future generations.
Phillips, Whitney. “We’re the reason we can’t have nice things on the internet.” Quartz, Quartz Media, 29 Dec. 2015, qz.com/582113/were-the-reason-we-cant-have-nice-things-online/.