Medication for the Modern Troll, 2021

My partner is wiser than I am; he never reads the comments below articles online. But for me, they invoke a certain horror and fascination that I just can’t turn away from: were people always this angry? Has it always been so hard to find common ground? It seems to me that the fury and vitriol circulating in online spaces is tantamount to a crisis, causing misery on a massive scale and stifling important societal discourse. However, hatred doesn’t just hurt the people it is directed at; it damages the hearts and minds of those who harbour it, too. The intention of ‘Medication for the Modern Troll’ is to reimagine online anger as an issue of public health. We know that loneliness is endemic in modern society and efforts to tackle it fall far short of the need. Although the internet may feel like it provides respite and community to unhappy souls, it can also potentially end up isolating and embittering them further. I hope that the ‘Troll’ of my poem and others like them can find the courage and support they need to step away from their keyboards, reconnect with their real-life communities, and feel empathy again.