Don’t feed the trolls. That’s an ancient Chinese proverb, I think. While most of us try to live our lives by that motto, trolls, especially on YouTube, still get enough attention to sustain them. In fact there's a whole subset of youtubers who've made this their entire raison d'être.
Let’s just call these online personalities professional trolls for the moment - aka people, whose videos exist just to make money from hate clicks. Some channels out there are straight up obvious baiting and we’re still ready to hand over our precious clicks with no question.
Not that any of us are immune from the odd bit of trolling, we’ve all had those moments. Scenario: you, at 1AM, trawling through YouTube comments, fuelling one flame war or another and cackling on the inside.
I’m talking here about the Amazing Atheists and Onisions , the Trisha Paytas-es (???) and, more recently, the Nicole Arbours of the YouTube community. Plenty of channels first grew their viewership through controversy – intentional or not. No judgement here, you live that clickbait life.
But, like, why do we share this? If we were instantly outraged by the Dear Fat People video and slammed the dislike button, why did we tweet it afterwards? *lowers head in shame*
That was a trick question, you know why. It’s because of VALIDATION.
We shared that Nicole Arbour video (and that other Nicole Arbour video and even that one Alex Day video a while back) because we want to be backed in our righteous indignation by at least 10-15 Facebook comments.
And once that snowball starts rolling, it keeps on going all the way to the muddy bottom – usually a subtweet war because really, you can’t fall any lower than that.
And that is how you kickstart a career with just a few troll videos. There’s really no point in hating the players, if we’ve all signed up for the game.