The internet empowered the trolls… and the complainers
Facebook pages of celebrities are being trolled by a particularly ‘Strayan identity of late. Potentially the only person in the country who actually refers to nitwits as “flamin’ galahs”.
His name is Alf Stewart. Best known for being a fictional character on Channel 7’s long-running Summer Bay soapie Home and Away. Also one of the most accomplished entrepreneurs in the country, having at various times run the Summer Bay liquor store, caravan park and yacht brokerage.
The Alf Facebook troll is almost as big as a hit as the long-running character – its page has over 63,000 subscribers (and rising). Facebook Alf leaves childish, abusive, disgusting and (sometimes) funny messages on the pages of big names. Obviously, neither Channel 7 or Ray Meagher have anything to do with it.
Pop-rock youngster Reece Mastin copped some Photoshopped images of him being kicked in the head. Facey Alf’s cursing definitely isn’t G-rated. Katy Perry’s copped some crude dribble (to 10,000+ likes) as has rapper Lil Wayne (similar). Facebook Alf drops lot of C-bombs, and I’m not talking about the swimmer.
Facebook Alf is a salient example of what one expert says is evidence of how Australians can’t be trusted to behave online.
Dr Christine Satchell, a senior research fellow in computing and information systems at the University of Melbourne, told news.com.au’s gun tech reporter Claire Connelly: “We live in a nanny state where everything is controlled and you can’t do anything without getting in trouble.”
“So it’s hard for us Australians to be in a space with no rules.”
Wowza. Drawing a bit of a bow there, Dr Satchell. But there’s something in this.
While the internet has empowered the trolls, it’s also empowered the complainers.
A disgruntled triple J listener tore into afternoon presenter Lindsay “The Doctor” McDougall on Facebook earlier this week. 10,000 people liked the listener’s post which said: “Your constant self promoting douchebaggery is a blight on an otherwise great radio station, it’s not all about you mate.”
Now, I’m an avid triple J listener. I find The Doctor overbearing. He’s like an annoying uncle.
But you’re never going to be satisfied with everyone you interact with.
Facebook, Twitter and co. can be wonderful. They’ve helped topple dictators and purveyors of poor customer service alike.
They’ve also given whingers a potent outlet to whine and whine and whine. One acquaintance of mine can’t help herself from Facebooking and tweeting every negative experience she has ever had with Sydney’s public transport system. Which happens to be every morning and afternoon. I’m sure you know someone just like it.
Maybe it comes down to us being more capable of blocking out the world than ever. Establishing our own comfort zone, unperturbed by anyone else. We can plug into oversized Dr Dre headphones, stare at our mobile phones, hide behind our sunnies, pretend all those annoying people don’t exist.
We can’t shut everything out though. You can’t stop the bloke next to you on the bus from deciding to clip his toenails.
The internet is filled with “mongrels” “misbehaving”. People on your radio, on your tele, in your life are going to grate on your skin.
In the words of a wise, old fictional man: “Deal with it, yer great flamin’ galah!”
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