Trolls Make Good Clickbait
Media’s dirty little secret about trolls, one that is illuminating about several right wing sites and how their obnoxious audience is their business model. The question that advertisers need to ask when confronted with this sort of business model : are the troll clicks worth the extra money we spend? Do Trolls buy as much as the general readership?
Trolls have been causing havoc online since the early days of the internet, disrupting online debate and directing offensive language and images at other users. But the problem continues to stymie the media, the public, and tech experts alike. This past week gave plenty of cause to revisit the issue as Jezebel called attention to its problems with porn spam, and troll attacks caused Robin Williams’ daughter, Zelda Williams, to leave social media indefinitely.
In both cases, trolls became stories because media outlets covered and analyzed both incidents, often accompanied by powerful adjectives such as ‘slimy’ and ‘vicious,’ or nouns such as ‘creeps’ and ‘sociopaths.’ As anyone who tells stories for a living will know, a narrative that includes such strong emotions will usually attract an audience. And so they did.
But the stories, in internet jargon, also fed the trolls—the spotlight is where they thrive, so this coverage of online events ends up making them stronger. In other words, media and the trolls are locked in a symbiotic relationship.