Saturday, October 30, 2010

Generally, I’m not much of a troll-fan. The practice of trolling is usually characterised by overt bigotry and intolerance and those things don’t really appeal to me. These people who sadistically derive pleasure from making hateful comments to purposely offend others, actually belong under fumey, grimy bridges. Instead they tend to live in normal, middle-class, privileged suburbia with plentiful internet access, and are prevalent on everything from news-sites to blogs to Facebook to tumblrs. They are best avoided by simply not scrolling through comment pages and by avoiding

However, there is an emerging species of trolls that I actually like.

I couldn’t write a post about trolling without adding that photo. I’m sorry. But in addition to rainbow-sprouting dolls, there is another variety of trolls of which I am particularly fond. They are articulate, witty and imaginative. They use internet-vandalism to leave perceptive and pertinent comments on topical issues. How? Welcome to the world of ‘letterbombing’; the work of  New York prankster Jeff Greenspan and two colleagues who have gained notoriety in the past few weeks for some high-profile trolling.

Letterbombing involves a team of pranksters changing their Facebook profile picture to a letter and then collectively leaving comments on a page to vertically spell out a message. So a group of thirteen friends could join forces, each representing a letter, and spell out ‘H-A-P-P-Y-B-I-R-T-H-D-A-Y’ on a friend’s wall. How funny! How creative! You’ll have the most original impersonal birthday message on friend-from-distant-past’s wall! But Greenspan and his team have put the technique to much greater use.

L-O-L. Referencing the upcoming (or now, just-been) Reclaim Sanity/Keep Fear Alive Rally, on the Head of INsanity’s wall, Greenspan demonstrated how effective and subversive trolling can be. Sadly for Palin, this was not picked up for about an hour, meaning there was plenty of time for screen-snaps and media attention on what looked like a message from Palin supporters. Shame Sarah.

The trolls also went to work here. Less subversive, even funnier.

A shame all that wit would have been wasted on them Bieber fans.  

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