While the term ‘Internet troll’ happens to be one of the most common terms in Internet slang, we bet that few of you knew what the etymology of this colloquial word is! You probably guessed it had something to do with those gross creatures from legend, right? But, as intelligent as that guess may be, you’re not entirely correct.
If you’re a prodigy, and as brilliant as I am [sarcasm], you might have believed that trolling on the internet had something to do with this little guy.
An internet troll has been defined, colloquially, as someone who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people.
KRK is your man when it comes to understanding what a troll really is – the real, asshole kind. But like we’ve noticed otherwise, throughout our experiences on the internet, trolls have also evolved into a killer source for humour. Sometimes trolling is not half as bad as we imagine it to be. Nonetheless, the term was originally used to brand the kind of irritating internet users you so commonly meet online.
General misconceptions about the etymology of the Internet slang term connect it to the legend and mythological idea of trolls.
In case you were wondering, trolls are part of old Norse mythology and Scandinavian folklore. They were meant to be ugly, mythical dwarves or giants that were usually isolated and condemned from the world of humans. A natural comparison to that attention starved friend you have on Facebook who’s always looking for a fight online.
As ugly as the thought of a troll is, interestingly enough, that is not where the Internet term originated.
It would make sense to think that the ugly mugs of mythical trolls happened to be the inspiration behind explaining the ugly behaviour of Internet trolls. But, nothing could be farther from the truth. The true origin happens to lie in an a fairly common manner of fishing. That’s right. Fishing.
Trolling happens to be a kind of fishing technique using nets, and more importantly, bait.
The earliest recorded usage of the term on the internet dates back up to the 1980s. Most speculation points toward the origin of the term having stemmed from the similarly named technique of fishing. Trolling (or trawling) is when you attach a fish net (or sometimes a hook with bait) to a boat and sail across the sea or ocean hoping to have caught some fish on the way. You see where we’re going with this?
The internet analogy to the same technique is for a user to throw in a statement as bait, for other users to latch on.
Just fling in one comment that will spark off an internet war, a frenzy of insults and conflicting opinions and you’re a troll. Period! Usually the users job would be done there. Much like fishermen, internet trolls habitually put out bait in order to wait for their catch of the day.
There you go. Now you know exactly what a troll is and where he/she comes from. The next time you confront one, you know better than to fall for their tricks (taking the bait). You have been equipped with the power to see through trolling. Don’t you agree?