By Craig Scott @craigscott209
Read by Mike Prime @BTR_PC
“You are blocked from following @PaulSmithJrn and viewing @PaulSmithJrn Tweets. Learn More.”
A pinned tweet worn like a badge of honour for some people on Twitter and one of the strangest phenomenons to emerge from social media since its inception. I suspect I’ve been asked to write this as a result of various angry outbursts online. I’m Glaswegian, please forgive me.
It’s true, I may have been partial to a mild overreaction. Although, where do we draw the line on mere outspoken outrage and ‘trolling’? When does it become online bullying? When does a “troll” transition from joker to “keyboard warrior”
It’s something I have often pondered.
I have met Dereck Chisora a number of times. I promise you, he is the most intimidating man I have locked eyes with. He’s not a bad man, but he glares at you intensely enough that you wonder whether you’ll get that hand back, before you even shake with it. He’s a very real man. I like that.
I bet you everything I own and everything my Dad owns (because I am broke) that you wouldn’t insult Dereck to his face. I know it, for a fact. Give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day… but give a man a keyboard, he’ll throw insults at genuinely hard men all day long!
Tony Bellew has been vocal on the subject of trolling, as have various personalities in the sport: Paul Smith Jr has had comments thrown at his young children, as has Dave Coldwell. But why? What drives these insults? These people are often caricatured as lonely men who still live with their parents, but they could be real people, with real jobs and families who go about their daily business like a good law abiding citizen, only to turn heel when they are in the safety of their own home. I suspect we’ll never know who they really are.
Curtis Woodhouse handled his ‘troll’ with infamous savagery. He hunted down his postcode, got in the car and provided commentary on the whole affair. He turned up at the ‘troll’s’ house, prepared to offer him a resolution. What happened? A pathetic, embarrassing, keyboard written apology from a shell of a human being, wasting time and oxygen.
Many athletes and celebrities have removed themselves from social media as a result of the constant flow of nonsense they receive. Ohara Davies and Spencer Fearon have shared racist messages they received. However, in a time where boxers of a lesser reputation rely on social media exposure to generate ticket sales and a fanbase, can they literally AFFORD to shut down their accounts?
PR companies are now running Twitter accounts for boxers and while this removes the boxer from direct abuse, it can also detach them from the fanbase they are seeking to entice.
Running a website that has posted some controversial pieces in recent months, I myself have received some thinly veiled threats. Some not so thin. My response has always been the same; come to a show and find me. I’ll be there, literally with a t-shirt pointing me out. If you would like to move your internet beef into a 3D realm, come to a show. And if you look like you could beat me up? I’ll charm you and buy you beer… I’m Glaswegian afterall.
Banter is banter, but just ask yourself one thing, when the screens are gone and the keys are broken, when the wires are torn and the internet is down, when a person taps you on your shoulder from behind, a real person you have been trolling for weeks, a person who is ready to take their retribution; was it all worth it?