How the Internet Normalized Donald Trump and Impacted American Politics | Big Think | Summary and Q&A

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September 26, 2016
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Big Think
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How the Internet Normalized Donald Trump and Impacted American Politics | Big Think

TL;DR

Online trolling has become normalized due to the internet, which has led to politicians like Trump using cruelty and sadism as a strategy.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How did the online environment normalize extreme behavior and lead to tolerance of Trump's behavior?

The online environment normalizes behavior due to social influence. When it appears that everyone is engaging in extreme behavior, it can be perceived as acceptable. This normalization has led to the tolerance of Trump's name-calling and sadistic behavior.

Q: What does the study on trolling reveal about the traits of people who enjoy it?

The study found that people who enjoy trolling exhibit high levels of Machiavellianism, psychopathic traits, narcissistic traits, and sadism. Trolling is considered a manifestation of everyday sadism.

Q: How does the normalization of online trolling impact efforts to teach kindness online to children?

The normalization of online trolling makes it challenging to teach children to be kind online. When politicians, like Trump, gain ground by using cruelty as a strategy, it undermines the efforts of those trying to promote positive online behavior.

Q: What is the concern associated with the migration of online behavior into the real world?

The concern is that the behavior observed in the online environment, such as trolling, migrates into the real world. Trump's behavior serves as an example of this. It becomes difficult to draw a line between evolving behavior and a social norm, thereby impacting real-world interactions.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Online environment normalizes extreme behavior, leading to tolerance of Trump's name-calling and sadistic behavior.

  • A study shows people who enjoy trolling have high scores in Machiavellianism, psychopathic, narcissistic traits, and sadism.

  • The concern lies in teaching children to be kind online when politicians gain ground using cruelty as a strategy.

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