Why online trolls do what they do

online trolls

Online trolls are one of the most toxic elements of the social media world. Nobody is immune to their tenacious wrath.

But why does this phenomenon exist? Why would anonymous individuals spend their time terrorizing celebrities, bloggers, and even random strangers.

There are a lot of theories out there about online trolls and their motivations, but as I far as I know, there has only been one study conducted where researchers actually talked to the trolls. What they found was sad and surprising.

Trolling seems to be a new “get-followers-quick scheme.”. Specifically, within the celebrity trolling realm, trollers are posting, commenting, and picking arguments with other users. In most cases, the objective isn’t even to get the attention of the actual celebrity themselves. They’re banking on the fact that fans will see their content and get riled up.

There is also a weird psychology at work here. The story of online trolls makes a wonderful conversation in the latest episode of The Marketing Companion. You won’t want to miss it.

In this episode, Brooke Sellas and I also dive into …

  • Consumers Consider Reviews More Influential Than Influencer or Celebrity Endorsements – Some 4 in 5 marketers believe influencer marketing to be an effective tactic, with the majority reporting that the ROI they generate is comparable or better than marketing channels. But consumers might not be that easily swayed: this year’s results from PwC’s global consumer study has found that just 17 percent of respondents say they are more likely to buy a product or service if it has an endorsement from an influencer or celebrity. Instead, a far greater proportion say their purchases are influenced by positive reviews on social media. Mark goes on a little rant here about the definition of “influencer.”
  • Academic proof of content shock — An academic article in the acclaimed science journal Nature explains the “accelerating dynamics of collective attention.” In other words, it shows how lower attention spans are actually being caused by the tremendous increases in online content.
  • And last but not least, Mark and Brooke celebrate the art form that is spam. #StandForSpam

Check it out!

Click on this link to listen to Episode 162

Further reading: A first-hand account of being a troll

Other ways to enjoy our podcast

Please support our extraordinary sponsors. Our content is free because of their generosity.

Many thanks to our friend Scott Monty for the awesome show intro. Be sure to check out his amazing newsletter The Full Monty and his new podcast available here: fullmontyshow.com.

Tim Washer is contributing creative direction to the show and he’s has worked for Conan O’Brien, John Oliver, among others. He helps corporations build more creative cultures.

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