Mike Hosking: Twitter's birthday nothing to celebrate

Twitter is 10 this week and, to be honest, from all I'm seeing I'm not sure there is a tremendous amount of celebration. Slightly ironic that, at the same time Twitter is a decade old, I read Teuila Blakely is back front and centre telling us that she is New Zealand's most trolled person. And nowhere will you find more trolls than on Twitter.

In fact, is that the Twitter legacy of the first 10 years? It's the home of the losers, nutters, and weirdos who have found an electronic outlet to vent their bile and given them access to people they could once have only ever dreamed of.

I was going to take issue with Teuila and her claim, for I am told that I might be the country's most trolled person every time trolling comes up in the offices I work in. People roll out any number of examples of the attacks, vitriol, abuse and sheer potty-mouth behaviour tossed my way.

I wouldn't have a clue how big or bad it actually is because they won't tell me and I can't be bothered looking because I see it for what it is.

Trolling has become too easy a story. Just yesterday, Paula Bennett got a message on Facebook over her campaign against wicked campers and it was news. Why?

Why does one person making one rude aggressive unacceptable remark constitute news?

And why don't we see the connection?

The moment one person can be a headline, they're all off. It's the attention they crave and the idiots in newsrooms give it to them.

Life in the public eye brings critics. Years ago it was via mail, these days it's electronic and because it's electronic and easy you get more of it.

The trick - and this is a trick to life - is choose your attitude. Why, if you're being trolled, are you reading it? For what purpose does someone do that? What's the end goal?

All that we have learned from trolling is that there is a sad desperate and disparate group of people who, if given a level of anonymity, will think they can run rampant, and they run more rampant if any of it is given oxygen.

It's a self fulfilling prophecy. The victim feeds on the abuser, the abuser feeds on the feedback. The circle has to be broken.

And perhaps the most surprising thing of all is that, when I say none of this remotely bothers me, people are surprised if not shocked. How they wonder is that possible?

I'll tell you: You give them the weight they deserve - which of course is none - and the rest is a piece of cake.

- Newstalk ZB

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