An amazing investigative journalist named Mattathias Schwarts came to one of my Media Studies classes this spring. He wrote a hot article for the NY Times regarding “Trolls”. Trolls are the folks who for some reason or other find harassing and manipulating people on-line as a delectable treat. I asked him if he would be willing to give me a few minutes to record a “micro-podcast” regarding Trolls on Future140. He gladly did so, and you can listen to it here.
Schwartz tells us that we see more troll-like behavior on the Internet because of anonymity. We can’t mask ourselves in public face-to-face interactions where antisocial behavior most certainly brings shame. Masking ones online identity in order to cause others is a power we are all capable of. He urged us to develop a “thicker skin” when engaged in online social interactions. He made no mention of OpenID’s or other online credentialing systems that enable high value online identity’s for users to carry across multiple platforms.