It took me less than five minutes to become one of the Nation’s most hated men. All I needed was a keyboard, a mouse and a desire to cause mischief with some ‘trolling.’ There was no bubbling smoke filled test-tubes or frizzy haired mad scientists screeching ‘It’s alive!’ as I birthed my new creation – there was just me and a brand new twitter account called @IDS_MP. I stuck some Latin in his bio ‘Parodia Spucatum Tauri – Parody Bullshit’ and then I went to work.
I tweeted the most ridiculous tweets I could conjure up and threw them into the digital playground, and Mr and Mrs Angry from Twitter bit hard. I suggested smearing deep heat onto cold flesh to cut down the cost of energy bills, and I suggested playing ‘The Hunger Games’ to make food bank visits more fun.
IDS became a strange lightning rod for the outraged and his follower count exploded as folk fell over themselves to vent their anger at him. It even hooked the Prime Minister and made Sky News, and I laughed so much I thought my sides would split.
I like Twitter. It gives an instant, and often surprisingly loud, voice to the masses. Unhappy with your MP paying for his underpants with your taxes? Call him a twat there. Not best pleased a posh boy in a suit wants to bomb some poor people in a country you have no argument with? Humiliate him online with a hashtag war.
Its ability to instantly get the thoughts in your head out into the world sometimes cost folk dear. Feminists and fatwas collide in a digital melee, as caps lock and retweets make up a peculiar and unique 21st century battlefield that puts the vulnerable in jail, as the famous weep out loud.
I’m told to check my privilege by kids who wouldn’t know hardship if it kicked their middle class life in its trust-fund-paid-for-never-had-a-real-job balls. The cult of Owen Jones and Laurie Penny – hyperbole and hysteria – chillaxing with the unemployed as they wrestle with their angst at being cosy and well off. Owen has the accent, Laurie has the bedsit but neither has a clue. Twitter blue ticks sit proud on their profiles – a pixelated crown to show the unfed masses who’s in charge.
I’m a troll… and I’m hated by the Daily Mail for it. A few weeks ago my friend left his phone unattended and the swipe stain left on the screen helped me crack his security. Once inside I changed every contact name to Batman, and then later that night I sent him a text, ‘Have you seen Robin?’ He still doesn’t know it was me, although I think he suspects, but I’m not worried – I’m Batman after all.
The word Troll is being redefined by the Media. It is now wielded as a blunt instrument to shut down debate. Not happy with Lads Mags getting fitted with burqas? You’re a sexist troll. Not convinced that leaving your kids to go on the piss is a good thing? You’re a Tapas Troll. Worried about free speech being eroded? You’re a Vile Troll.
The word has been jacked into the Nation’s conscience. Mainlined by the mainstream, so that any opinion deemed not to fit into a pre-packaged outcome can be silenced. Twitter mobs can be whipped into a fury with a hashtag, and those on the wrong side of the argument get painted by the word. Digitized pariahs, for all to mock and hate. Citizens are monitored by a self-appointed Stasi, using screenshots and retweets as their weapons in this fight.
Never in history have so many human beings had a voice. That voice is often loud, often angry and the natives grow restless. They ask about the wars in which their children die, and focus eyes upon the men who start them. Questions drip relentless into cyberspace, typed in bold and wondering. Why they ask, and uncomfortable men in suits fear the answer. So they throw the hungry pack a Troll.
The bone of truth is dropped as a feeding frenzy starts. Mental Patient costumes are devoured and suicidal teenagers swallowed whole by the hungry as the men in suits slink back to their bunkers. Ban words, ban people, ban the internet! But most of all – ban the Trolls! They’re asking awkward questions…