The magic and utter insignificance of an internet troll

I’m hardly the first person to report that the internet is an amazing, equalizing, entertaining, informative and at times, even kinda inspirational communication platform. And I’m hardly the first writer to have the pleasure of contact with an opinionated “expert” making “expert” observations about one of my stories that are illustrated by the verbatim exchange you see above.

And I’m not complaining. I love experts! Especially ones that want to bestow their “expert” opinions about stuff that I’ve written  but apparently, have achieved a level of “expertness” that actually precludes them from reading the entire piece they are providing an “expert” opinion on. I know, providing “expert” opinions on other people’s work is really too time-consuming to actually read it the work being commented on. Anyhoo…

The screenshot above is from the magical exchange I had with my “expert” admirer. The correspondence was conducted via private, direct Twitter messages so I’m keeping the identity of my “expert” opinion bestower private. You’ll also see the exchange was quite civil, which is always a plus. You might also be able to see that the “quote” “expert” opinion is delivered in a snarky, condescending, and weirdly repetitive manner that shows that the “expert” probably did not read the whole story, or even read the respectful responses to the “expert”opinion the writer was so kind to provide. In fact, this exchange illustrates exactly the type of closed mindedness that the well-meaning people I write about in the story are actually trying overcome (among many other things).


But enough about our “expert.” This story features selfless people who are helping kids in the South Bronx overcome poverty, and violence under-funded schools by teaching them how to build wooden boats they can use to experience nature, freedom, and responsibility that comes when they push away from their dock on waters off South Bronx. It talks about people making a real difference in people’s lives—kinda like our “expert” does with his “opinions,” right? But don’t take my word for it. Here’s the link.

As you can also see the story is also about a very wealthy woman and the foundations she’s started to address some pretty big problems in some pretty innovative ways. And one of her foundations is sponsoring an America’s Cup team that yes, wants to win the America’s Cup, but is also working to develop and implement innovative ideas on a global, corporate industrial level that could lead to real positive environmental change…in addition to “raising awareness” to the systemic problems in energy, agriculture, human rights, and industry that frankly, we (and our kids) are all facing as inhabitants of planet Earth.

And yes, I spoke with her about her foundation’s efforts to turn the ship of our antiquated system of environmental destruction a couple of degrees towards more sustainable practices on a boat that was yes, using fossil fuel to “speed” up the East River (not the “Hudson” as our intrepid “expert” states in the snarky one-liner at the blessed end of our exchange). But the point that our wonderfully opinionated “expert,” makes oh so clear is this: closed minds that perserverate on a truly insignificant aspect of a story about the need for systemic (incremental but systemic) and scalable global change like our “expert” does so repetitively will never solve anything.

Actually, I was wrong. Internet trolls are not insignificant. By illustrating this special breed of arrogance and ignorance so elegantly, my “expert” admirer might actually make more of a positive impact (and help get the word out) better than I ever could have imagined.

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  1. says: Theresa

    Funny, Bill. And, you’re right- I missed the original story and the troll-gate incident caused me to go back and read it. Go Wendy.