A woman’s guide to the most poisonous trolls on the internet

one of The most surprising thing I’ve seen since I started appearing on television in 2017 was the sudden surge of men in my Twitter mentions, my email inbox, my Instagram and Facebook followers, and my direct messages. The most innocuous (but still restless and creepy) people simply swarm you on the social media platforms of your choice after they emerge. After I got off the show and quietly clicked the follow button within a few minutes, countless notifications flooded my Facebook and Instagram accounts with notifications that they were looking at me from behind their avatars. On Twitter, the platform that best matches my work with tens of thousands of anonymous followers, I wouldn’t even think about it. But the thought of these people finding personal platforms where I often share who I am, and doing so right after seeing me on TV makes my skin clamber. A young woman once followed me on Instagram after appearing on TV. She sent me a message to let me know how inspiring my commentary is. Guys, on the other hand, mostly like to just hide, scroll and double-tap long strings of selfies.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of people on the internet who have far more voices than lurkers. It’s helpful to know about the various incarnations before meeting them so you don’t mistake their initial approach for anything other than malice. They, like Kool-aid men, explode violently into your comments and your life, demanding your attention and demanding hawkish opinions that are indisputable and that they believe are clearly right and indispensable. “Pay attention to me!” they howl “My opinion matters!”

Trolls can write differently, attack differently, or be grotesquely obsessed with other parts of your appearance or background, but ultimately what motivates a troll is their relationship with you. They hope this will encourage you to finally shut up and make room for their infinitely more valuable thoughts. Then them You will receive a blue check, a TV appearance, and a byline. They swear, block, give up sharply and post hot takes. And in their minds the Internet will praise them. Their motives are undoubtedly disgusting, but I’ve found humor to be a good antidote to the backlash that trolls induce. Let’s take a look at the categories of creatures you may encounter in your online adventures.

First off, there’s a guy called @ProfessorActuallyEsq. answerer. Every woman who exists in public online has at least one replying man. Most women have several. It can be tens or hundreds if you’re particularly unlucky or particularly noticeable. (groaning!) @ProfessorActuallyEsq implements them. He is the one who responds to the feeling of all the worldly things you post, be it breakfast pictures or the latest publications, and always digs into your content, your life, and the weakest connections to it. “Actually, leave the toast a little longer next time.” He explains bacon, eggs and cheese. “It should be golden brown.” You must have liked his encouraging reply a long time ago. He is often a mansplain and asserts his quasi-superiority by explaining a subject in which you have expertise. Sometimes he reiterates your point to you or, better yet, links you to the very article he wrote in an argument with you. Sometimes these guys are qualified and like @ProfessorActuallyEsq they aren’t afraid to remind you of it. Professor of Philosophy, Law and Engineering; former senior diplomat; And now all business people do what they don’t want to show up in a classroom or office. (Except that it certainly is.)

Here is @TrojanHorace. Bait and Switch Guy. As a writer and commentator, I get a lot of engagement, leads, and opportunities through direct messaging on social media. Keeping my DMs open is essential for my job, but exposes me to genital photos, romantic offers, and other unwanted attention and abuse. Occasionally I get positive messages of solidarity with me when I post about online bullying, thank you for my work, or congratulate you on a recent publication. Until I met @TrojanHorace, I thought this message was a great antidote to critique and sexism on the rest of the internet. His early approach was either alliance or admiration. If you reply with an off-cuffs, “Thank you, thank you!” @TrojanHorace understands this to mean that you are now equal or friend. Engagement Failure has been activated. One thing he knows for sure is that you are interested in having a longer conversation with him. This is where his tactics change. He may be wrong about the behavior of his friend @ProfessorActuallyEsq, and offers to educate you. He may ask anxious questions about what you are wearing or what you ate for dinner. He can send you a voice memo that you can’t open because you’re too scared. Attempting to bow gracefully in conversation after this angry transition makes @TrojanHorace hostile, using the same misogyny that he recently embarrased. @TrojanHorace I no longer respond to friendly messages from strangers. This is why we can’t have good things.

Then there is @LazyLogan. or man who doesn’t know how to use google. A lot of lazy people (mostly men) find women on the internet to answer pointless questions about the basic concepts that women can do with their purpose, rather than to inform others of their expertise, analyze news, or amplify their work. seems to think that Educate yourself easily. Instead, they seem to prefer to ask you to do it. While researching and writing this book, and tweeting related thoughts and updates, I was asked the following questions: What is SWATing? What is an anti-dogging service? This easily googled query is twice the abalone. Answering proves that @LazyLogan’s fiancée is rewarded, compliant, and a faithful human encyclopedia. If you knew just how poor, childish, and incompetent men like @LazyLogan are, you’ve seen yourself in the process.

A woman’s guide to the most poisonous trolls on the internet

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