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Media Addiction: A Virtually Awkward Troll

Context: #ossntu

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By using the #ossntu hasthag, we contextualise subjects written in 140 characters or less to alternative interpretations.

Identity: Troll

I was a troll.

“In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as a forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.”


Ask 10 people what they think about Internet trolls and you’ll likely get 10 different answers. One person might focus on harmless pranks, another on the lulz, another still on hateful tweets or harassment, generally. Some might even argue that the category doesn’t exist. The Internet seems to be virtually overrun with trolls—but no one can agree on what that term means.

Read A Brief History of Trolls, by Whitney Phillips, for elaborative insights and consequences of “trolling” as a label. 

Introspectively, I have exhibited behaviours, such as checking Twitter feeds for updates, that inclined towards media addiction. A confession for media addiction, while common, is self-shaming and guilt-tripping. I confront anxiety even as to responses from avatars despite familiarity for my trolling efforts. I could not detach myself from a virtual character I created for a micro-theatre performance. 

The notion of a staged performance does not imply an act of pretence, but being real in an artificial context.

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Dr. Ruben de la Nuez, an art critic and theoretician, on the difference between theatre and performance art.

Research and Statistics

Psychologists at the University of Manitoba conducted a study to determine if trolls have character traits that fall into what is known as the Dark Tetrad:

1. Machiavellianism – wanting and being able to manipulate and deceive others

2. Narcissism – extreme egotism and self-obsession

3. Psychopathy – a total lack of remorse and empathy

4. Sadism – taking pleasure in others’ suffering

Trends E.E. Buckels et al, “Trolls just want to have fun,” Personality and Individual Differences, 2014.

Case studies:

1. Trolling @emo_kidd91

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Clearly, @emokidd91 unveils a depressive episode on #ossntu. Instead of establishing an emotional rapport and a support system for the poor kid:

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2. Trolling @whalebiologist_

In continuity with sexual nuances:
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3. Trolling @HWL_OSSMP

Severe incoherence:
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4. Trolling @Zeltaru

In far-fetched response to @Zeltaru’s mention of “brownian motion”:

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Translated as an animation in code:

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5. Trolling @prakashph and @MNasiruddinBar

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Seriously, who is Sally?

6. Selfie — the ultimate art of trolling

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The image of gods and goddesses since pre-modern times are portrayed via the projection of self in the studies of iconism. The proclamation that the Buddha is a bff (best friend forever) highlights self-importance and narcissism on extreme. To visually analyse such portraiture* is political.

Portraiture* here refers to the selfie shared by the narcissist and Buddha statue.

The Buddha on pedestal of significance is cropped out and in the form of a selfie, the relationship of the onlooker and the buddha is changed. The sandstone figure of Buddha protected by Naga Muchalinda could be identified to be from 11th to 12th century Cambodia. It was time when the Buddha is modelled in likeness to Cambodian king Jayavarman VII.

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Source: Statue of King Jayavarman VII at Bayon Temple near Angkor Wat, Cambodia.

The representation of the onlooker’s identity sends subliminal messages to inform her status beyond a “bff”.


The Internet culture is progressive in time, opening up to more possibilities and vulnerabilities that requires discerning eye in information literacy. An avatar could be brought to live as an extension of reality. An avatar could also be an illusion that disillusions in the light of reality.

“The key to growth in the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness”
-Lao Tzu

Meanwhile, What Is an Internet ‘Troll’? How Should I Deal With Trolls? offers reliable perspectives and practical advices to deal with internet trolls.


The act of writing as a catharsis and its records of an avatar helps to erect boundaries between effects of media addition and self. Thank you #ossntu as micro-theatre platform and Prof. Randall Packer for his introduction to Hyperessay practice. #clarity


Chris Mooney (2014, February 14). Internet troll personality study: Machiavellianism, narcissism, psychopathy, sadism. Retrieved from

Kyle Chayka (2014, February 13). Internet Trolls Are Sadists and Psychopaths, Psychologist Report Finds | Retrieved from

Mark Prigg (2014, February 15). Online trolls really ARE horrible people, researchers find | Mail Online. Retrieved from

Whitney Phillips (n.d.). Internet troll personality study: Machiavellianism, narcissism, psychopathy, sadism. Retrieved from

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