Have you all caught on to the latest trend in delightfully amusing pastimes? It’s a captivating online game called “baiting.” If you haven’t tried it, you are missing out on one whopping good time, my friends.
Here’s how it works. You sign onto any popular social media outlet and post something calculated to upset people. Then, just sit back and wait for the fun to begin. If you succeed in affecting someone enough to get him to respond, you’ve won the first round! Keep scoring points against your opponent by hitting his vulnerable spot and making him feel bad. Now you’ve got him solidly on the hook and the laugh is on him.
But the fun’s not over yet. You can up your win by ridiculing people’s reactions to your posts and doubling down with a bit of additional name calling—the more hurtful the better. And if that triggers them further, you rack up even more bonus points by calling them oversensitive (or snowflakes, or crybabies, etc.)
Remember the schoolyard bully, how he’d punch someone, then make fun of them for crying? “Aww, are you gonna cry now? Look at the little baby, crying for his mama. What a loser.” Man, what laughs. That one never got old. But as wildly amusing as that was, the baiting game—also known as trolling—can be even more so. First of all, you can be anonymous, so the object of your emotional manipulation is more or less a defenseless sap. And once you get really good at it, you can sometimes string your target along for weeks, even months. Then, if and when they figure out they’ve been trolled, you can mock them for being taken in by your deliberate provocations.
I tell you, I’m chuckling with giddy childlike wonder at the thought of it. It’s like Disneyland for the incredibly cruel.
And there’s real creative strategy involved. You can try insulting someone’s appearance, or scare someone with fake threats, or say awful things about someone’s ethnicity, sexuality, or beliefs You can even—and this really is a riot—make up demeaning nicknames that make people look ridiculous.
There’s more than one version of the game. Become a true master at this type of attack and you may even convince someone to take her own life. It’s been done before, but only by the top tier of players. For now, start with some basics. Before you know it you’ll be trolling like mad, getting people really upset by saying horrible things that display a complete lack of compassion (whether those remarks reflect your true feelings or not).
Best of all, you’ll be joining a huge community. Particularly since the advent of the internet, hordes of players have joined the game. So you’ll get to compete with your fellow monsters for who can cause people to feel the worst.
There’s no prize for winning (yet), but you get bragging rights, a sense of power, and the satisfying proof that you’ve had a painful effect on someone’s life.
What’s become of us?