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Not everyone online is your friend. Some people aren’t just there to have fun. They are there to trick you and attack you. These people are called Trolls.

Learn to Find the Trolls

This website is good for helping you learn what to look for in identifying trolls. Online trolls try to manipulate your opinions and actions. However, the site’s mock-ups don’t really convey everything you’d see in a real feed, so don’t feel bad if you miss a few. It’s really reading the WHYS the quiz gives that help you learn about trolls and how to avoid them.

https://spotthetroll.org/start

No Haters

Another thing to caution you against. People are more aware of trolls now, but just because there ARE trolls, doesn’t mean everyone who has a different opinion than you IS a troll. Some people can genuinely have a different opinion. Some people shake off every criticism with “haters going to hate.” But that really isn’t true. While some people really are haters, attacking people for stupid or wrong reasons, there are other people whose negative comments really ARE worth consideration. Sometimes they are right and you are the one who is wrong or misinformed. Sometimes they are wrong. Sometimes both parties are partly right and partly wrong.

It’s too easy to just throw anything you don’t 100% agree with in a big pile, labeled hate and ignore it. The most important piece of information literacy you can have is remembering to stop and think. Don’t just automatically assume people you agree with are right and that anyone who disagrees is wrong. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Any one instance might be one of those times.

Sarah Uthoff is a reference library at Kirkwood Community College. LIKE the Kirkwood Community College Library on Facebook and find links to Sarah all over the web at her About Me Profile.