How To Stop Feeding The Troll and Start Affecting Change
1. Perform condescending grammar and/or spelling checks on random people’s internet posts.
This is one of the most popular and, I assume, effective approaches. Don’t agree with something someone says online? Meticulously run it through spell check. Nothing gets your point across like condescendingly reminding someone they missed a hyphen. There was a time I was a strict vegetarian but that was before CatLover669 noticed my auto-correct used “meet” instead of “meat”. Now I genetically engineer chickens that shit out blue cheese for chain restaurants all over the world! To quote the great Maya Angelou, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” …about their spelling.
2. Get incredibly outraged by a meme.
Who cares if it’s Pepe the frog? Use him to propagate your Nazi agenda; or better yet, get really pissed about someone using him to propagate THEIR Nazi agenda. You see, the way memes work is pretty complicated. They go nowhere unless a ton of people give them attention; sort of like politicians. Even if all you do is write a nasty comment; that bumps the meme up in everyone’s newsfeed and raises its popularity in general. If you scroll by, roll your eyes and move on; the internet uses algorithms that let it know no one gives a shit. This makes it harder to sell ads. Websites need to sell ads to work. Go ahead and get into a 36 comment fight on a meme; you just helped spread it. It’s like coughing with your mouth open. Bonus: this pushes down all actual news or memes you may agree with. But let’s face it. It’s the internet. Why be the bigger man when they only give you attention for being a jackass? Hail Pepe!
3. Start a ridiculously passive aggressive internet argument in response to a relative or friend’s political agenda.
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Look, we are all terrified right now. It’s really hard to see our loved ones take an oppositional stance to policies that mean so much to you. You don’t want to fight or start a big family upheaval because you’re going to have to see them at the next big holiday but you can’t just scroll by. It hurts that they’re not seeing it from your side. That’s why I suggest passive aggressive meme or article sharing. Say, for example, our President did something crazy like openly mocked a disabled person and offered no apology; say you have a disability yourself and your family is still sharing that image in defense of what was said. Get extremely emotional and fall into the same propaganda hole they did! You didn’t read anything but the headline they posted before getting upset and they won’t either but hey, we’re all still figuring out how to do our civic duty in the information age; a petty grudge can’t hurt communication, can it? Yes. Actually, I just talked myself out of this one. Go for their spelling. With so many education cuts in the future, you’ll actually be doing them a favor.
4. Get your children involved!
I play a lot of online games when I’m not feeling well, which is unfortunately often due to Multiple Sclerosis. I’ve noticed a trend in little kids naming their groups after Donald Trump and their enemies after Hillary Clinton. My own nephew makes me do this in Super Smash Brothers. Your child is most likely too young to understand politics, let alone international political complexities, but that doesn’t mean they’re too young to understand hate! So spread yours! Regardless of what party it’s for. They’re never too young for war! Right?
5. REALITY CHECK: Stop Wasting Your Time On All Of That, Calm down and Unite
Look, it is very human to get worked up when you feel you and/or your rights are being personally attacked, but that doesn’t mean it’s getting anything done. When Julius Caesar penned his famous “Divide and Conquer” strategy, he had no idea how easy social media would make it a couple of thousand years later. Regardless of what your side you’re on; you’re a pawn in a timeless game that our democracy has failed to ensure doesn’t take place. Most Trump supporters have no bigger argument than that they hate liberals. Many don’t even necessarily like the man. Yea I know, I’m not a liberal either but that’s how baited we are with choosing sides right now. It’s much easier to discuss people than policy but it also completely negates your point.
Here are some resources for tracking current policies, protesting the one’s you disagree with and staying on top of this administration’s actions.
The only cure for fear is education. Stay diligent. The minute we descend into the “my side is smarter than your side” rhetoric; the white flag has been raised or really, burned and stomped on.
Easy Apps and What They Do (all free and available for both IOS and Android)
- Buycutt is my favorite app because it hits them where it hurts; their wallets. You can scan in any barcode and make sure you’re not buying a product that goes against your belief system and moral code. What’s that old adage again? Money walks but bullshit talks? Well lately those with the most money have been talking the most bullshit, let’s stop them in their path.
- VoteSpotter is great because it connects you to your local representatives and alerts you when important legislation is up in your area. It then explains said legislation and connects you to the representative you need to contact if you want to help petition it
- Countable is a little less comprehensive then vote spotter but it also provides daily updates on lawmakers and issues you care about. Screw it, times are scary. Download both.
- Politifact actually won a Pulitzer prize for its work fact checking politician’s statements with in-house data to catch both little and big lies. There’s also a “flip-o-meter” which measures the most recent flip flops in Washington.
- Dollaracracy (found in your app store & actually sprung from opensecrets.org) tracks where our money is going in congress and provides profiles for top donors, industry supporters and special interest group.
- OpenStates is the best for tracking local politics and mapping out confusing state lines to be sure you know your district. It also provides profiles and contact info for your personal representatives.
There are many more out there as well. These happen to be my favorite but just type “call to action apps” into google and you’ll be surprised how much you can do from a smartphone.
- Easy Websites and What they do:
- GovTrack.us I would say this is the most comprehensive website for tracking legislation as it’s debated in congress because it is literally the white house’s page for that and has been for years. You can easily search by address or issue. Go. Now. Show your friends!
- PopVox.com is another great site for staying up to date on both state and federal levels. This site also lets you add your voice on the issues that matter most to you. It even includes bills that are simply in the consideration process.
- Indivisible Guide is a practical guide for resisting the current administration written by former congressional staffers. This site will also contact you with updates. It also offers local updates and ways you can join the discussion. This one is a personal favorite.
- ResistanceManuel.org This is another great one. It even provides you with direct phone numbers to your representatives. It covers everything from inmate’s rights to woman’s rights and more. It also provides you with links for or against almost any cause. Hell, I’d set this as my homepage at this point.
- CrowdVoice.org is an open tool that gathers information and tracks social justice movements around the world. From local crisis to the European Refugee one; this site makes sure you stay up to date and informed on how you can participate and why you should care. Trust me, if you have any empathy at all you should care.
- WhatWeDo.Us is a bit partisan for my taste but it tracks the anti-Trump movement and again all protests. This website is still a must because it’s the best at keeping you up to date on petitions and numbers you can contact from home. They even offer pre-written forms on most issues. Just fill in your name and address and look at you! You did something way more effective than argue with a troll on Twitter!
I think enough cyber poo has been flung to make us look like devolved monkeys for decades to come. Stop arguing and start fighting for your rights. If people can defend someone with a term like ‘alternative facts’ then I don’t think you’re going to get anywhere on that comment thread anyway.