This poem draws its inspiration from the kind of people who feel the need to insult, berate or generally be odious to others online.
It started out as a straight-forward critique of trolling but, once I’d written the first draft, I realised the tone was a bit too preachy, which felt weirdly hypocritical. After all, I’m no saint myself (although I do my best to exercise empathy where I can).
So, I decided to flip the perspectives a little bit, and write the poem from the point of view of a so-called internet troll. I feel like a lot of people who indulge in these behaviours don’t actually realise how unpleasant they are being to other web-users, so that’s the main thrust of the poem. In this case, the two antagonists are just as bad as each other – but that’s definitely not always the case!
Anyway, I hope you like it. Let me know what you think in the comments!
Trolling (or how not to win an online argument)
I'm not that argumentative, I promise you I'm not
But people on the internet are WRONG and must be stopped!
I'd never pick a fight you see, but if they come to me?
I'll type them out a world of pain (while drinking raspberry tea).
There's one discussion that I'm in that's going on right now
It's more like rational debate than full blown twitter row:
Is she goading me to call her evil, just to prove a point?
Her arguments are circular, and wonky at the joints
But is it all on purpose, to expose my fatal flaws?
And if I turn the other cheek, will she retract her claws?
Is she hoping to provoke me into making a mistake?
Each time I try to block her, she just raises all the stakes.
Her views are so repugnant, and she's aired them more than twice.
I'm poised to invoke Godwin's Law – she left me with no choice.
But, it's got me second-guessing, am I giving her raw data?
Is she capturing my words to do analysis on later?
Does every rash expletive give her cause to write a note?
Am I speaking for humanity and do I want my quotes
Immortalised on paper or in dusty reference books?
If you go back through my twitter feed, you'll see how bad it looks.
I've dismissed all of her arguments because I don't agree
Ignored her issues of debate just like she ignored me
It's the internet equivalent of shouting at a wall
We're talking past each other in this shitty twitter brawl.
It soon devolves to insults, which is proof of the decline:
You wouldn't say it to your nan, so don't put it online.
And finally, I see the light and realise my wrongs
The evidence was mounting up; it's been there all along:
This troll is a philosopher, and I'm her a priori –
I'm falling into every trap, confirming all the stories.
That part with a priori in will cause controversy
I don't know what it means because I failed philosophy
But never let your ignorance detract from your opinions
If what you say is shocking, then they'll flock to you in millions.
And though I didn't start this war, I'll be the one to finish it
Coz losing to a troll is an embarrassing diminish-ment.
And now there's nothing out of bounds, appearance, age, or weight
If you wanted to play fair, my dear, you left it much too late.
I have no time for people who aren't willing to agree;
These battles take my soul from me and all my empathy.
Shit! Maybe I'm the troller, as oppose to the trollee?
Have I ruined everything, and all society?
Am I the culmination of 'What's Wrong With Kids Today'?
Should I pack up my Wifi and then head off far away?
Or am I over-thinking this? I'm fairly sure I am;
That woman's views are awful and she doesn't give a damn!
The only way to stop her is with razor sharp derision
And mockery unleashed with an incredible precision.
She'll never ever listen, but that's not the point you see:
I'll keep on monologuing, with a Caps Lock on the keys.
Laughing at her arguments, and scoffing at her views –
Enjoying every moment, and igniting every fuse.
And while the righteous anger might be fuelling both of us
It's hard to take her at her word, with all this bitterness.
Perhaps she's just an arsehole, but then, I'm an arsehole too.
And there's nothing more that we can say, and nothing else to do.
So maybe Twitter battles aren't the way to raise debate –
I've added her on Snap Chat; let's hope she takes the bait.