Have you ever cracked you knuckles, pursed your lips, shoved your hands inside your pockets, locked unlocked your phone and looked out at the window while trying to make a conversation, and found absolutely nothing to tell the person before you? A person who has just suffered a tragedy like the death of a family member?
Since death is hardly something any of us can avoid knowing from close quarters for too long, possibly yes. Chances are that in situations like this, you can’t come up with anything to say, because you know nothing is comforting enough. And everything might sound phony. Of the many things that make us all human, this dilemma is one. However, between an average human being and an internet troll, lies a huge chasm.
One of the several ills that social media has brought upon us apart from stalking, and legitimising the contortion of language and spelling, is making sadism something that can be practiced unabated. And for proof you need look no further than the biggest headline in recent days – the death of Robin Williams, who committed suicide after a long battle with depression. His daughter, Zelda Williams, was forced to quit the social media platforms she frequented after she was harassed by trolls.
Zelda Williams with father Robin Williams.
According to reports, while some people harangued her on the number of photos she has put up with her father, trying to suggest that the fact that she didn’t have many pictures of her father on Twitter meant she was not involved in his life. Or she didn’t care.
Others tweeted at her with pictures of a dead man in a mortuary – a person who looked vaguely like Williams.
While the jury maybe out on that, social media websites might have to become a little more vigilant in who they are accessible to and what terms. And the non-troll population may have to take a little more enthusiasm in blocking, reporting these accounts. Because from where we are now, the way to deal with trolls such as these is to be relentless in hunting them, as they are in abusing others. Sadly, we are content being wary and not angry, giving them longer lives.