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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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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Key Insights

  • πŸ™ˆ Online behavior can influence real-world behavior, as seen in the tolerance of extreme behavior in politicians like Trump.
  • 🧌 A study reveals that trolls exhibit traits of Machiavellianism, psychopathy, narcissism, and sadism.
  • πŸ§‘β€πŸ« Teaching kindness online becomes challenging when cruelty is rewarded and gains ground in politics.
  • πŸ«₯ The online environment can normalize behaviors that were previously considered unacceptable, blurring the line between evolving behavior and social norms.
  • 🌍 Migration of online behavior into the real world can have significant implications for society and interpersonal relationships.
  • 🌍 Cyberpsychology seeks to understand the impact of online behavior on real-world interactions.
  • πŸ’„ The pervasive accessibility of the internet makes it difficult to combat the normalization of online trolling.

Transcript

So in Europe we’re fascinated with your election – Hillary and Trump. Goodness. And everybody that you talk to says well how is Trump being so successful? Why on earth are people tolerating sexist, racist, hate speech? And there’s a good answer for it. I wrote a piece recently for Time and I discussed why Trump is having the sort of success that he... Read More

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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