Everyone has those embarrassing middle school pictures floating around social media profiles, especially Facebook. Thought is often not given to these photos because they are from so long ago. Who is ever going to see them, right? Think again.
Lately, it seems Facebook “trolling” is becoming extremely popular, especially in the Principia community. Urban Dictionary defines trolling as “being a jerk on the Internet because you can.” Essentially, it’s unleashing ironic or sarcastic likes and comments on an innocent person’s profile.
Many students on campus have been trolled through the act of someone “liking” their past photos, making them pop up on others’ newsfeeds.
When freshman Cody Veidelis was asked how he felt about being trolled, the first thing he did was laugh. “Looking back now, I think, ‘Yeah, [the photos] are so dumb and super embarrassing, but I really don’t care because I was being myself then, and I have always been proud of being myself,’” he said. “So its like, ‘Yep, that’s me, everybody.’”
Veidelis and his long-time friend, freshman Cedar Brumm, have been trolling each other. They both agree that it is all in good fun. “It is just to jab some fun at friends, trying to let them know what they were like in middle school, even though I was probably worse. It is just for a good laugh,” Brumm said. Senior Ashley Reisen was a victim of being trolled, and she also thought it was hilarious because she loves it when people are sarcastic. “I think it’s funny because I don’t really get that embarrassed. I mean, it is a picture of the past and I don’t look like that anymore, but I can take a joke,” she said.
Sophomore Devon Carlson trolled one of Reisen’s pictures and said, “I just want to bring attention to this.” Carlson did it very intentionally, wanting everyone to see the embarrassing picture of Reisen. “I mean, if I really didn’t want people to see it, I shouldn’t have put it up in the first place,” Reisen said. While she is aware of the pictures she has out there and doesn’t mind people seeing them, junior Melissa L’Heureux felt quite the opposite.
“I know better than to leave pictures on my Facebook that I don’t want to be seen. I frequently go through my profile and clean up pictures that I don’t want to stay on the Internet,” she said.
L’Heureux said she actively trims up her profile because she knows what’s out there and, to her, it’s the professional thing to do. “If you leave picture duplicates and unedited pictures from middle school, it’s almost like having bad hygiene,” she said.
Many students agreed that trolling reflects the way humor has transformed over the years in our society. “I think [the Internet has] become a place where humor is expanding,” Reisen said. “Because it’s online, for some reason people can say the weirdest things or the funniest things.”
“I think with social media, we are able to highlight our friends’ goofy flaws and laugh at them instead of make fun of them in a harmful way,” Brumm said. “It just shows that we are more comfortable and accepting of each other.”
Junior Tory Silver said she would never troll a random person. “I only troll my sister and close friends, people I’m comfortable with,” she said. Silver hasn’t been trolled herself, but said she isn’t too worried and that she has nothing to hide. Silver understands how some people want their Facebook to be professional, like L’Heureux. However, Silver is more carefree about her Facebook profile.
Is Facebook trolling going to be a short-lived fad? Regardless, all the pictures put Facebook can be seen by the people had as friends on Facebook. If this has you thinking to yourself, “Oh, man, I sure don’t want any of my middle school pictures popping up on people’s newsfeeds,” then maybe you need to do a little trimming of your Facebook account so you aren’t the next person in the spotlight on Facebookers’ newsfeeds.