In the five months I've spent here on Bleacher Report, I've learned a lot—not only about writing and journalism, but what it takes besides talent with a pen and pencil/keyboard and computer to be a writer.
I've also gone through positive and negative experiences; however, both will play major roles in my dream of becoming a journalist.
In fact, you could say my time here has been so educational that it may even be more beneficial than going to school (although not falling asleep in math class would probably put public education above).
The positives? I've met some great people, friends, and mentors I hope to have alongside of me for life, including Blaine Spence, Andrew Nuschler, Leroy Watson, Stephen Meyer, Richard Marsh, Nick Carlo, Matt Miselis, DJ Rallo, Daniel Barber (Hotnuke), Dan Callagy, Hao Meng, Pete McKeown, Louie Ramos, Saraswathi Sirigina, Bryn Swartz, Cody Swartz, Paul Swaney, Robert Allred, Eric Annett, Tim Coughlin, Josh Bakan, and Josh Dhani (also like to give a special shoutout to Sulayman, who promoted me when I returned to Bleacher Report—props, dude.).
If I didn't mention you, don't worry, because I know that I have your support.
I've also become more mature in situations where I've been shot down or ridiculed because I erred in certain articles.
I've learned to keep my cool, but still assert myself as a confident, solid individual, whereas before I just came across as the immature 13-year-old who was trying to defend his pretty crappy work.
I've learned a lot about the art of commenting on an article, but you can read about all of that here.
And although encounters with the negatives that come along with being a part of B/R was a good challenge for me to face, it still bugged me. Ticked me off, if you know what I mean.
For example, what's the point of lingering around one's article waiting for a comment or a response from the writer to show up, solely to further insult or embarrass the writer by pointing out errors and taking notice to the accidental spelling and grammar mistakes they may have made?
Thus we come to a term. A term used not only for pessimistic critics on the Internet, but in this cruel world that we live in: trolls.
These trolls somehow find a perverted pleasure in watching others fail miserably due to mistakes that only a troll would pick up.
Actually, "pick up" is not the phrase I was looking for. Trolls actually look, and scour a piece, merely to shove one's inaccuracies or faults right back in their faces.
Trolls also love, love, to complain about certain omissions in the article. If a point or fact that may have further enhanced the piece is excluded, they jump right on it.
Personally, it's disgusting. In short, trolls enjoy having fun at someone else's expense.
So, we writers have to take a stand. Although it may sound funny to the people reading this, it's a time for change and progress in the Internet world.
Again, this may cause you to snicker, but it's in fact socially acceptable for trolls to be...well, trolls. On the computer, of course. And although we may find it annoying, we never got serious.
We shrugged it off.
We let it roll of our backs.
Well, no more. We found it perfectly normal to receive useless negative feedback on our articles. I say useless because it really has no core meaning to it.
Trolls just type in random insults (they may or may not have even read the article) and mock us for no real purpose. Just to do it.
But actually, in real life, this is considered a form of harassment. Harassment has the word "ass" in it, by the way, which is a trick I use to remember how to spell it (true story: my reading teacher told my class this year that we can remember how to spell harassment if we just remember that harassers are asses).
Do we take harassment in real life?
Shrug it off?
Let it roll of our backs?
No. We raise our fist in the air and declare this wrong. We stomp on the trolls we come across in our life. We don't let them destroy our career or dreams. And we certainly do not let them humiliate us.
It wouldn't be hard, either. In the history of the world, we've been delayed by obstacles. We've had our share of pickles (no, not the food). It's us against them. We've done this before, right? And in more severe circumstances, at that.
You see, trolls think they're tough and mean behind the computer screen. They think we fear them. They believe that they have the advantage, because they think that we're scared of them. But are we?
Well, let's just say I'd like to see the look on their faces when they see a mob of us in actual life, not just behind the glass that protects and shields them from life's consequences.
So, to start of this "movement," I'll say the first words in an attempt to bring the presence we have to the trolls' attention. Sort of like breaking glass at a Jewish wedding, but completely different. Sort of. Here goes:
To all Internet trolls: We are not afraid, nor scared of you. We won't live with your crude and unnecessary words.
We, instead, will build an Internet world where kind and pleasant gestures toward others in need of encouraging feedback will become an everyday thing.
And for those of you who still do not follow suit: shut up. Simply shut up.