So you’ve been hanging out on YouTube fairly regularly, finding yourself hooked on notifications to channels you subscribe to. Maybe you even have a channel yourself, where you upload videos of your cats doing cute things, and save lots of playlists of your personal favourites so you can find them again when you want to re-watch them, or share the link with your pals. You enjoy participating in live chats when cool channels do a live stream; swapping ideas and having a laugh with other people keeps you feeling connected to what’s going on in the world, or at least whatever bit of the world is your preferred corner. You post in the comments section under people’s videos. People start enjoying looking at your content, and may even push the red Subscribe button so they can see your content as soon as it comes out. Amateur channels like Eric The Legend get lots of views this way. Just ‘cos they’re entertaining.
That doesn’t mean it’s always a breeze creating good content. Here’s a quick tutorial.
We can definitely see the downside in the ANewHopee video above. It’s only a question of spending time on YouTube, and making a few comments, before you say something that someone else doesn’t like, unless you are one of those people (and it seems they are out there) that never says anything negative, just as there are also people who don’t often say something positive. If this is the case you’re pretty easy to spot by other users ‘cos your username will be something like ‘MysticMeg’, and your channel icon might also have a picture of a unicorn or other impossible creature, like Marilyn Munroe on it, or, like mine, just someone better looking that you in real life, or you might just say lots of stuff that irritates the heck out of them and pushes every button on their console. This might tick some people off, and bring out the devil in them, and you might have to run damage control videos for your channel.
If you are not in the nice about everybody-all-the-time, and things are always lovely (maybe, dare I say it, wanting to dissociate completely from your own aggressive impulses) category, like practically everyone (yay, #TeamTyler is sooo awesome) who is a loyal subscriber to this channel….
then something you say is sooner or later going to trigger somebody’s defenses, and you will hear the word ‘troll’ being aimed in your direction. Sometimes the ones who think they are the good guys are doing stuff that the rest of us don’t think is so nice. But with a bit of sweet talk, one can persuade one’s followers, sorry subscribers, that it is all in a good cause. It gets confusing. What is one person’s idea of a worthy crusade, may be another’s idea of a witch hunt (known as crowdstalking on YouTube). See quinn’s timephonehack blog entry here.
What exactly is a Troll, and why should I be worried when someone calls me one?
Fact number 1 is that they probably don’t mean the funny-looking little plastic guys with the fuzzy hair. No, they mean YOU. And the number 2 thing to remember is that the person calling you that is probably quite annoyed with you about something. Fact number 3, it is not always evident to you what it is they are annoyed about, but a helpful tip is that they probably think that you do not have any right to your own opinion, and they do have a right to theirs. They get so annoyed that you can capitalise on this just for the lulz, if you are so inclined, for example, those involved in the Q story, discussed on this post over here, which is bound to annoy them even more. Which makes some laugh even harder. You can also steer clear of those nasty algorithms which are like heat-seeking missiles for naughty words, or verboten thoughts, by using ciphers and forgotten languages.
Further complications and permutations of the troll thing are possible. It’s possible to seem like a troll, while not perceiving yourself as one; It’s possible to be a channel-owner and a troll at the same time…
…..it is also possible to be called a troll while simultaneously making a lot of young men very happy just to be in your presence, and want to immortalize you in remixing your productions.
Which sort of YouTuber are you? The cookies and ice cream type of troll?
The confidence-trickster type of troll (open in YouTube to see the chatstream discussed in UNIRock2 video above)?
Or the seriously nightmare-inducing type of troll?
Before I leave you, let me put this discussion in a wider context. This is not just some little YouTube spat, or community hissy-fit, happening in a small corner of the interwebs. No, there is a much broader context, and as Jordan Peterson points out, a conversation very much needs to happen about some of the directions society is heading. Mr. Peterson first came to the attention of many for this BBC appearance, when he appeared on a Channel 4 News discussion with Cathy Newman. He chewed her up intellectually, then spit her out in an oh-so-polite manner, while she helped by digging her own grave deeper with every word. The interweb loved it; it soon went viral and garnered a huge audience, and lots of great publicity for one of his books. The cringe is high in this.
Here’s the wider conversation, and the facts of life presented here aren’t fun. But when there are some things that need to be said, you can be sure that people will find a way to say them, without wondering whether they are all that pleasant to hear.