Why Is It So Easy For Trolls To Be Rude Online?

trolls patents

Photo: Flickr / loloieg

Between the seemingly endless comment trolling and tweeting of what you had for lunch, it might be time to take a step back and reconsider what you share online.Daniel Post Senning is the spokesperson for The Emily Post Institute, which exists to provide etiquette advice and workshops to corporations and news outlets. He’s the co-author of the 18th edition of Emily Post’s Etiquette and has a book on social media etiquette due out next year.

We picked his brain on the state of etiquette and the Internet earlier this morning. Here’s what he had to say.

Internet trolls often feel protected by anonymity. But I think it’s superficial anonymity–what you do online is always potentially public and permanent. There’s always someone who has one deeper level of technical expertise than you and can follow you online.

Don’t be seduced by the illusion of privacy. We’re used to a certain degree of privacy in our homes, cars, or offices. But the second you go online, the Internet is potentially the most public place in your life. You can be someone talking loudly on the phone, unaware of the public around them.

Trolling is atrocious behaviour and we assume people are just looking for attention. Your best solution is to not give it to them and to not give them a reason to come out from under the bridge in the first place.

Every new generation has a period of figuring out best practice for new communication tools. We’ve seen it before, from the first telephones, to home phones, to cell phones, and now social media.

The fundamental issue is that these are relationship issues–they are most important in terms of how they affect relationships. Ask yourself how you’re using these tools to serve your human relationships. Take your cell phone as an example–it’s neither rude nor polite on its own. It’s how you use it.

If you want a golden rule, don’t anything you wouldn’t do walking down the main street of your hometown and don’t post anything you wouldn’t put on the bulletin board of your grocery store. Imagine yourself in a context where there’s more accountability for what you say and do.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.