23 June, 2021

140 Character Assassination

Everyone gets hit by bullet or shrapnel today. Here’s when Outlook got trolled.

140 Character Assassination

The internet idealism of the 1990s was perhaps born out of a very naïve optimism. Everyone those days spoke like a digitally enabled beatnik. The new medium was itself the message. It was going to be constituted and governed by their principles: essentially non-materialistic, democratic, a world away from the wolves on Wall Street. No vested interests, no cigar-chomping media barons guarding their empires, pulling off a murder or a riot just to break the news and sell copies. The revolution was going to be webcast. People would wage peace. Knowledge was going to be freely shared in verdant commons. In the middle of it all, strumming a guitar, would be Lennon’s statue.

This world of milk and honey was never born. Instead, we see an orgy of war. Online spaces have invented a whole new cult of collective violence: every day it demands a new sacrifice, a new voodoo doll. Bodies lie strewn around these blood-spattered white screens, in pain, in shock or in rigor mortis. There was a time when trolls could be seen as fringe pathogens. Even that was a time of innocence....

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