On Internet Trolls… *Sigh*

I do know a thing about internet trolling, as I have my own family to give the greatest credit for this, giving me lots of experience on the psychological factors, and understanding of it’s context. If you think they are different in person than on the internet – think again – as my experience with it shows they are more concerned with being acknowledged by you, then you are of them.

When it comes to internet trolling, my family is innately successful, but that’s because they cannot realistically inflate themselves to being considered important, reasonable, or even descent, when they aren’t.

Whenever I make friends, have a social life, my family has been known to talk all sorts of crap about me to them in order to make them their friends. It’s seriously a big case of them not feeling like they fit in, etc. Videos further down the post will explain. I highly encourage those to watch them.

The dark corners of interest is where they can anonymously have an effect on the world, but no where else? Of course, making these negative remarks about them is essentially “feeding the trolls,” but that is only because they care about what I think. It’s not exactly mutual, either, as I continue to pursue my own interests, I don’t need their approval, advice, or even them as a “sounding board.”

Despite the fact my family continuously insists they are “not political.” Trolling is, by large, entirely political. According to the TIME Magazine article, “How Trolls Are Ruining the Internet“:

Trolling is, overtly, a political fight. Liberals do indeed troll–sex-advice columnist Dan Savage used his followers to make Googling former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum’s last name a blunt lesson in the hygienic challenges of anal sex; the hunter who killed Cecil the lion got it really bad.

But trolling has become the main tool of the alt-right, an Internet-grown reactionary movement that works for men’s rights and against immigration and may have used the computer from Weird Science to fabricate Donald Trump. Not only does Trump share their attitudes, but he’s got mad trolling skills: he doxxed Republican primary opponent Senator Lindsey Graham by giving out his cell-phone number on TV and indirectly got his Twitter followers to attack GOP political strategist Cheri Jacobus so severely that her lawyers sent him a cease-and-desist order.

The alt-right’s favorite insult is to call men who don’t hate feminism “cucks,” as in “cuckold.” Republicans who don’t like Trump are “cuckservatives.” Men who don’t see how feminists are secretly controlling them haven’t “taken the red pill,” a reference to the truth-revealing drug in The Matrix. They derisively call their adversaries “social-justice warriors” and believe that liberal interest groups purposely exploit their weakness to gain pity, which allows them to control the levers of power. Trolling is the alt-right’s version of political activism, and its ranks view any attempt to take it away as a denial of democracy.

In this new culture war, the battle isn’t just over homosexuality, abortion, rap lyrics, drugs or how to greet people at Christmastime. It’s expanded to anything and everything: video games, clothing ads, even remaking a mediocre comedy from the 1980s. In July, trolls who had long been furious that the 2016 reboot of Ghostbusters starred four women instead of men harassed the film’s black co-star Leslie Jones so badly on Twitter with racist and sexist threats–including a widely copied photo of her at the film’s premiere that someone splattered semen on–that she considered quitting the service. “I was in my apartment by myself, and I felt trapped,” Jones says. “When you’re reading all these gay and racial slurs, it was like, I can’t fight y’all. I didn’t know what to do. Do you call the police? Then they got my email, and they started sending me threats that they were going to cut off my head and stuff they do to ‘N words.’ It’s not done to express an opinion, it’s done to scare you.”

Because of Jones’ harassment, alt-right leader Milo Yiannopoulos was permanently banned from Twitter. (He is also an editor at Breitbart News, the conservative website whose executive chairman, Stephen Bannon, was hired Aug. 17 to run the Trump campaign.) The service said Yiannopoulos, a critic of the new Ghostbusters who called Jones a “black dude” in a tweet, marshaled many of his more than 300,000 followers to harass her. He not only denies this but says being responsible for your fans is a ridiculous standard. He also thinks Jones is faking hurt for political purposes.

It seems pretty obvious that there is a political debate here. Is trolling fundamentally all about winning though? In short, yes and no. Trolling is, from what I have experienced, mostly about power. In the power, comes the feeling of winning, being important.

So how does an internet troll gain this power? Well, quite simply, by creating a false presentation of themselves and hoping other people are willing to believe it. (Again, see the videos below for a further explanation.)

Female secretary crazed from overwork

To be more literal, it’s like someone saying in a room, “I’m a very important person not to be messed with,” with the hopes that there are gullible people willing to believe it. You may just have an easier time getting people to believe if they don’t even see you. Here is a list of the types of trolls you are likely to meet online via Lifewire:

An Internet troll is a member of an online social community who deliberately tries to disrupt, attack, offend or generally cause trouble within the community by posting certain comments, photos, videos, GIFs or some other form of online content.

You can find trolls all over the Internet — on message boards, in your YouTube video comments, on Facebook, on dating sites, in blog comment sections and everywhere else that has an open area where people can freely post to express their thoughts and opinions. Controlling them can be difficult when there are a lot of community members, but the most common ways to get rid of them include either banning/blocking individual user accounts (and sometimes IP addresses altogether) or closing off comment sections entirely from a blog post, video page or topic thread.

Regardless of where you’ll find Internet trolls lurking, they all tend to disrupt communities in very similar (and often predictable) ways. This isn’t by any means a complete list of all the different types of trolls out there, but they’re most certainly some of the most common types you’ll often come across in active online communities.

The insult troll

The insult troll is a pure hater, plain and simple. And they don’t even really have to have a reason to hate or insult someone. These types of trolls will often pick on everyone and anyone — calling them names, accusing them of certain things, doing anything they can to get a negative emotional response from them — just because they can. In many cases, this type of trolling can become so severe that it can lead to or be considered a serious form of cyberbullying.

The persistent debate troll

This type of troll loves a good argument. They can take a great, thoroughly researched and fact-based piece of content, and come at it from all opposing discussion angles to challenge its message. They believe they’re right, and everyone else is wrong. You’ll often also find them leaving long threads or arguments with other commenters in community comment sections, and they’re always determined to have the last word — continuing to comment until that other user gives up.

The grammar and spellcheck troll

You know this type of troll. They’re the people who always have to tell other users that they have misspelled words and grammar mistakes. Even when they do it by simply commenting with the corrected word behind an asterisk symbol, it’s pretty much never a welcomed comment to any discussion. Some of them even use a commenter’s spelling and grammar mistakes as an excuse to insult them.

The forever offended troll

When controversial topics are discussed online, they’re bound to offend someone. That’s normal. But then there are the types of trolls who can take a piece of content — often times it’s a joke, a parody or something sarcastic — and turn on the digital waterworks. They’re experts at taking humorous pieces of content and turning them into an argument by playing the victim. People really do get upset by some of the strangest things said and done online.

The show-off, know-it-all or blabbermouth troll

A close relative to the persistent debate troll, the show-off or blabbermouth troll is a person who doesn’t necessarily like to participate in arguments but does love to share his opinion in extreme detail, even spreading rumors and secrets in some cases. Think of that one family member or friend you know who just loves to hear his own voice. That’s the Internet equivalent of the show-off or know-it-all or blabbermouth troll. They love to have long discussions and write lots of paragraphs about whatever they know, whether anyone reads it or not.

The profanity and all-caps troll

Unlike some of the more intelligent trolls like the debate troll, the grammar troll and the blabbermouth troll, the profanity and all-caps troll is the guy who has nothing really of value to add to the discussion, spewing only F-bombs and other curse words with his caps lock button left on. In many cases, these types of trolls are just bored kids looking for something to do without needing to put too much thought or effort into anything. On the other side of the screen, they’re often harmless.

The one word only troll

There’s always that one contributor to a Facebook status update, a forum thread, and Instagram photo, a Tumblr post or any other form of social posting who just says “lol” or “what” or “k” or “yes” or “no.” They’re certainly far from the worst type of troll you meet online, but when a serious or detailed topic is being discussed, their one-word replies are just a nuisance to all who are trying add value and follow the discussion.

The exaggeration troll

Exaggeration trolls can sometimes be a combination of know-it-alls, the offended and even debate trolls. They know how to take any topic or problem and completely blow it out of proportion. Some of them actually try to do it to be funny, and sometimes they succeed, while others do it just to be annoying. They rarely ever contribute any real value to a discussion and often bring up problems and issues that may arguably be unrelated to what’s being discussed.

The off topic troll

It’s pretty hard not to hate that guy who posts something completely off topic in any type of social community discussion. It can be even worse when that person succeeds in shifting the topic and everyone ends up talking about whatever irrelevant thing that he posted. You see it all the time online — in the comments of Facebook posts, in threaded YouTube comments, on Twitter and literally anywhere there’re active discussions happening.

The greedy spammer troll

Last but not least, there’s the dreaded spammer troll. This it the troll who truly could not care less about your post or discussion and is only posting to benefit himself. He wants you to check out his page, buy from his link, use his coupon code or download his free ebook. These trolls also include all those users you see littering discussions on Twitter and Instagram and every other social network with “follow me!!!” posts.

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I have had the pleasure of meeting another who has faced such harassment, Anita Sarkeesian, and she makes a valid point, as shown by not only the comments made by my own family to me, but also aligned with their political views, in this interview with The Guardian:

There’s a boys’-locker-room feel to the internet, where men feel they can show off for one another. A lot of the harassment is tied to this toxic masculine culture of ‘Look how cool I can be.’

Does this correlate with my experience?

YES! Check, check, check! Rigid statements on gender definitely qualifies as such. According to the AlterNet article, “Toxic Masculinity Is Killing Men: The Roots of Men and Trauma“:

If we are honest with ourselves, we have long known that masculinity kills men, in ways both myriad and measurable. While social constructions of femininity demand that women be thin, beautiful, accommodating, and some unattainable balance of virginal and fuckable, social constructions of masculinity demand that men constantly prove and re-prove the very fact that they are, well, men.

Both ideas are poisonous and potentially destructive, but statistically speaking, the number of addicted and afflicted men and their comparatively shorter lifespans proves masculinity is actually the more effective killer, getting the job done faster and in greater numbers. Masculinity’s death tolls are attributed to its more specific manifestations: alcoholism, workaholism and violence. Even when it does not literally kill, it causes a sort of spiritual death, leaving many men traumatized, dissociated and often unknowingly depressed. (These issues are heightened by race, class, sexuality and other marginalizing factors, but here let’s focus on early childhood and adolescent socialization overall.) To quote poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning, “tis not in death that men die most.” And for many men, the process begins long before manhood.

The emotionally damaging “masculinization” of boys starts even before boyhood, in infancy. Psychologist Terry Real, in his 1998 book I Don’t Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression, highlights numerous studies which find that parents often unconsciously begin projecting a kind of innate “manliness”—and thus, a diminished need for comfort, protection and affection—onto baby boys as young as newborns. This, despite the fact that gendered behaviors are absent in babies; male infants actually behave in ways our society defines as “feminine.” As Real explains, “[l]ittle boys and little girls start off… equally emotional, expressive, and dependent, equally desirous of physical affection. At the youngest ages, both boys and girls are more like a stereotypical girl. If any differences exist, little boys are, in fact, slightly more sensitive and expressive than little girls. They cry more easily, seem more easily frustrated, appear more upset when a caregiver leaves the room.”

Yet both mothers and fathers imagine inherent sex-related differences between baby girls and boys. Even when researchers controlled for babies’ “weight, length, alertness, and strength,” parents overwhelmingly reported that baby girls were more delicate and “softer” than baby boys; they imagined baby boys to be bigger and generally “stronger.” When a group of 204 adults was shown video of the same baby crying and given differing information about the baby’s sex, they judged the “female” baby to be scared, while the “male” baby was described as “angry.”

Intuitively, these differences in perception create correlating differences in the kind of parental caregiving newborn boys receive. In the words of the researchers themselves, “it would seem reasonable to assume that a child who is thought to be afraid is held and cuddled more than a child who is thought to be angry.” That theory is bolstered by other studies Real cites, which consistently find that “from the moment of birth, boys are spoken to less than girls, comforted less, nurtured less.” To put it bluntly, we begin emotionally shortchanging boys right out of the gate, at the most vulnerable point in their lives.

It’s a pattern that continues throughout childhood and into adolescence. Real cites a study that found both mothers and fathers emphasized “achievement and competition in their sons,” and taught them to “control their emotions”—another way of saying boys are tacitly instructed to ignore or downplay their emotional needs and wants. Similarly, parents of both sexes are more punitive toward their sons, presumably working under the assumption that boys “can take it.” Beverly I. Fagot, the late researcher and author of The Influence of Sex of Child on Parental Reactions to Toddler Children, found that parents gave positive reinforcement to all children when they exhibited “same-sex preferred” behaviors (as opposed to “cross-sex preferred”). Parents who said they “accepted sex equity” nonetheless offered more positive responses to little boys when they played with blocks, and offered negative feedback to girls when they engaged in sporty behavior. And while independent play—away from parents—and “independent accomplishments” were encouraged in boys, girls received more positive feedback when they asked for help. As a rule, these parents were unaware of the active role they played in socializing their children in accordance with gender norms. Fagot notes that all stated they treated sons and daughters the same, without regard to sex, a claim sharply contradicted by study findings.

Undeniably, these kinds of lessons impart deeply damaging messages to both girls and boys, and have lifelong and observable consequences. But whereas, as Terry Real says, “girls are allowed to maintain emotional expressiveness and cultivate connection,” boys are not only told they should suppress their emotions, but that their manliness essentially depends on them doing so. Despite its logic-empty premise, our society has fully bought into the notion that the relationship between maleness and masculinity is somehow incidental and precarious, and embraced the myth that “boys must be turned into men…that boys, unlike girls, must achieve masculinity.”

Little boys internalize this concept early; when I spoke to Real, he indicated that research suggests they begin to hide their feelings from as young as 3 to 5 years old. “It doesn’t mean that they have fewer emotions. But they’re already learning the game—that it’s not a good idea to express them,” Real says. Boys, conventional wisdom holds, are made men not by merely aging into manhood, but through the crushing socialization just described. But Real points out what should be obvious about cisgender boys: “[they] do not need to be turned into males. They are males. Boys do not need to develop their masculinity.”

It is impossible to downplay the concurrent influence of images and messages about masculinity embedded in our media. TV shows and movies inform kids—and all of us, really—not so much about who men (and women) are, but who they should be. While much of the scholarship about gender depictions in media has come from feminists deconstructing the endless damaging representations of women, there’s been far less research specifically about media-perpetuated constructions of masculinity. But certainly, we all recognize the traits that are valued among men in film, television, videogames, comic books, and more: strength, valor, independence, the ability to provide and protect.

While depictions of men have grown more complicated, nuanced and human over time (we’re long past the days of “Father Knows Best” and “Superman” archetypes), certain “masculine” qualities remain valued over others. As Amanda D. Lotz writes in her 2014 book, Cable Guys: Television and Masculinities in the 21st Century, though depictions of men in media have become more diverse, “storytelling has nevertheless performed significant ideological work by consistently supporting…male characters it constructs as heroic or admirable, while denigrating others. So although television series may have displayed a range of men and masculinities, they also circumscribed a ‘preferred’ or ‘best’ masculinity through attributes that were consistently idealized.”

We are all familiar with these recurring characters. They are fearless action heroes; prostitute-fucking psychopaths in Grand Theft Auto; shlubby, housework-averse sitcom dads with inexplicably beautiful wives; bumbling stoner twentysomethings who still manage to “nail” the hot girl in the end; and still, the impenetrable Superman. Even sensitive, loveable everyguy Paul Rudd somehow “mans up” before the credits roll in his films. Here, it seems important to mention a National Coalition on Television Violence study which finds that on average, 18-year-old American males have already witnessed some 26,000 murders on television, “almost all of them committed by men.” Couple those numbers with violence in film and other media, and the figures are likely astronomical.

The result of all this—the early denial of boys’ feelings, and our collective insistence that they follow suit—is that boys are effectively cut off from their emotions, and with them, their deepest and most vulnerable selves. Historian Stephanie Coontz has labeled this effect the “masculine mystique.” It leaves little boys, and later, men, emotionally disembodied, afraid to show weakness and often unable to fully access, recognize or cope with their feelings.

In his book, Why Men Can’t Feel, Marvin Allen states, “[T]hese messages encourage boys to be competitive, focus on external success, rely on their intellect, withstand physical pain, and repress their vulnerable emotions. When boys violate the code, it is not uncommon for them to be teased, shamed, or ridiculed.” The cliche about men not being in touch with their emotions says nothing about inherent markers of maleness. It instead identifies behavioral outcomes that have been rigorously taught, often by well-meaning parents and society at large. As Terry Real said when I spoke to him, this process of disconnecting boys from their “feminine” —or more accurately, “human”—emotional selves is deeply harmful. “Every step…is injurious,” says Real. “It’s traumatic. It’s traumatic to be forced to abdicate half of your own humanity.”

That trauma makes itself plain in the ways men attempt to sublimate feelings of emotional need and vulnerability. While women tend to internalize pain, men instead act it out, against themselves and others. As Real told me, women “blame themselves, they feel bad, they know they feel bad, they’d like to get out of it. Boys and men tend to externalize stress. We act it out and often don’t see our part in it. It’s the opposite of self-blame; it’s more like feeling like an angry victim.” The National Alliance on Mental Illness states that across race and ethnicity, women are twice as likely to experience depression as men. But Real believes men’s acting-out behaviors primarily serve to mask their depression, which goes largely unrecognized and undiagnosed.

Examples of these destructive behaviors range from the societally approved, such as workaholism, to the criminally punishable, such as drug addiction and violence. Men are twice as likely as women to suffer from rage disorders. According to the Centers for Disease Control, men are more likely to drink to excess than women, leading to “higher rates of alcohol-related deaths and hospitalizations.” (Possibly because men under the influence are also more likely to engage in other risky behaviors, such as “driv[ing] fast or without a safety belt.”) Boys are more likely to have used drugs by the age of 12 than girls, which leads to a higher likelihood of drug abuse in men than in women later in life. American men are more likely to kill (committing 90.5 percent of all murders) and be killed (comprising 76.8 percent of murder victims). This extends to themselves, according to studies: “males take their own lives at nearly four times the rate of females and comprise approximately 80 percent of all suicides.” (Interestingly, suicide attempts among women are estimated to be three to four times higher than that of their male counterparts.) And according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, men make up more than 93 percent of prisoners.

The damaging effects of the aforementioned emotional severing even plays a role in the lifespan gender gap. As Terry Real explains:

“Men’s willingness to downplay weakness and pain is so great that it has been named as a factor in their shorter lifespan. The 10 years of difference in longevity between men and women turns out to have little to do with genes. Men die early because they do not take care of themselves. Men wait longer to acknowledge that they are sick, take longer to get help, and once they get treatment do not comply with it as well as women do.”

Masculinity is both difficult to achieve and impossible to maintain, a fact that Real notes is evident in the phrase “fragile male ego.” Because men’s self-esteem often rests on so shaky a construct, the effort to preserve it can be all-consuming. Avoiding the shame that’s left when it is peeled away can drive some men to dangerous ends. This is not to absolve people of responsibility for their actions, but it does drive home the forces that underlie and inform behaviors we often attribute solely to individual issues, ignoring their root causes.

James Gilligan, former director of the Center for the Study of Violence at Harvard Medical School, has written numerous books on the subject of male violence and its source. In a 2013 interview with MenAlive, a men’s health blog, Gilligan spoke of his study findings, stating, “I have yet to see a serious act of violence that was not provoked by the experience of feeling shamed and humiliated, disrespected and ridiculed, and that did not represent the attempt to prevent or undo that ‘loss of face’—no matter how severe the punishment, even if it includes death.”

Too often, men who are suffering do so alone, believing that revealing their personal pain is tantamount to failing at their masculinity. “As a society, we have more respect for the walking wounded,” Terry Real writes, “those who deny their difficulties, than we have for those who ‘let’ their conditions ‘get to them.'” And yet, the cost, both human and in real dollars, of not recognizing men’s trauma is far greater than attending to those wounds, or avoiding creating them in the first place. It’s critical that we begin taking more seriously what we do to little boys, how we do it, and the high emotional cost exacted by masculinity, which turns emotionally whole little boys into emotionally debilitated adult men.

When masculinity is defined by absence, when it sits, as it does, on the absurd and fallacious idea that the only way to be a man is to not acknowledge a key part of yourself, the consequences are both vicious and soul crushing. The resulting displacement and dissociation leaves men yet more vulnerable, susceptible, and in need of crutches to help allay the pain created by our demands of manliness. As Terry Real writes, “A depressed woman’s internalization of pain weakens her and hampers her capacity for direct communication. A depressed man’s tendency to extrude pain…may render him psychologically dangerous.”

We have set an unfair and unachievable standard, and in trying to live up to it, many men are slowly killing themselves. We have to move far beyond our outdated ideas of masculinity, and get past our very ideas about what being a man is. We have to start seeing men as innately so, with no need to prove who they are, to themselves or anyone else.

Locker room talk aside, it is not really about that. Much of the internet trolling may deal with “Look what I just did!” stuff between men, but also the lack of consequence one can feel by acting like they can do whatever they want. Certain people get the idea that there are no consequences, because it’s the internet, but even there – that’s not true.

Consider that these men, my father and feminist-targeting trolls, have spent time and energy creating these messages – defending things in some way – rather than doing something else. Some person’s opinion got them to spend hours on this, to put energy into that. According to the Lifewire article, “Internet Trolling: How Do You Spot a Real Troll?“:

What Does It Really Mean to Go’Trolling’ Online?

The Urban Dictionary has a bunch of definitions under the term “trolling,” but the first one that pops up seems to define it as simply as possible. So, according to the Urban Dictionary’s top rated definition for “trolling,” it can be defined as:

“Being a prick on the internet because you can. Typically unleashing one or more cynical or sarcastic remarks on an innocent by-stander, because it’s the internet and, hey, you can.”

Wikipedia defines it as:

“Someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as a forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.”

Those who aren’t quite familiar with the Internet slang definition of “troll” or “trolling” might automatically think of the mythical creature from Scandinavian folklore. The mythological troll is known to be an ugly, dirty, angry creature that lives in dark places, like caves or underneath bridges, waiting to snatch up anything that passed by for a quick meal.

In some ways, the mythological troll is similar to the internet troll. The internet troll hides behind his computer screen, and actively goes out of his way to cause trouble on the Internet. Like the mythological troll, the internet troll is angry and disruptive in every possible – often for no real reason at all.

Where the Worst Trolling Happens

You can find trolls lurking around almost every corner of the social web. Here are some specific places that are well known to attract trolls.

YouTube video comments: YouTube is notorious for having some of the worst comments of all time. Some people even say “it’s the trailer park of the Internet.” Go and have a look through the comments of any popular video, and you’re bound to find some of the worst comments ever. The more views and comments a video has, the more troll comments it’ll probably have as well.

Blog comments: On some popular blogs and news sites that have comments enabled, you can sometimes find trolls cursing, name-calling and just causing trouble for the heck of it. This is particularly true for blogs that cover controversial topics or for the ones that tend to rack up a lot of comments from people who want to share their opinions with the world.

Forums: Forums are made for discussing topics with like-minded people, but every once in a while, a troll will come in and start spewing negative words all over the place. If forum moderators don’t ban them, other members will often respond and before you know it, the thread gets thrown completely off topic and becomes nothing but one big pointless argument.

Email: There are lots trolls who actively take the time and energy to write up horrible email messages in response to people they disagree with, were offended by, or just get a kick out of picking apart for no significant reason at all.

Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Instagram, Tumblr or practically any social networking site: Now that almost anyone can comment on a status update, reply to a tweet, converse in a community thread or send an anonymous question, trolling is absolutely everywhere that people can use to interact.

Instagram is especially bad, because it’s a very public platform that people use to post photos of themselves–inviting everyone and anyone to judge their appearances in the comment section.

Anonymous social networks: Anonymous social networks basically act as an invitation to be nasty, because users don’t have to worry about their identities being tied to their bad behavior. They can take their anger or hatred out without suffering the consequences, because they can hide behind a faceless, nameless user account.

Big brands on Facebook, celebrities on Twitter and Tumblr teens with lots of followers face trolling every day. Unfortunately, as the web becomes more social and people can access social sites wherever they are from their smartphones, trolling (and even cyberbullying) will continue to be a problem.

One of the larger aspects of internet trolling comes from the idea that it is a “public place,” but just how public is the internet?

Take my Facebook, Twitter, and Personal Blog, which my own father has argued is a public place, meaning if I do not want to get harassed by others for saying something they may have not liked – my best option was to delete my Facebook or Twitter. But…. and this is a very large but here: All of these platforms have what would be called privacy settings.

Are these settings then privacy for my father and those who think like him over my Facebook, Twitter and Personal Blog? No. These settings are about my privacy. That’s why I can make my content only viewed by certain people, and I don’t have to permit all people to see them.

Certainly, there is nothing that says I have to have any Facebook friends, much less, that I must keep certain people as Facebook friends, either. So, of course, I have every right not to be Facebook friends with any of family (which is obviously understandable given the bologna), or any former friends at my own discretion. This is because Facebook isn’t public. Same with my Twitter, because I can make it only viewed in private. Additionally, I can permit comments on my Personal Blog, and there is nothing anyone else can do about it. It’s at my discretion.

I’ll leave this with the Vox, and SciShow, videos which could offer some more insight:

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