This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things Book Summary - This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things Book explained in key points
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This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things summary

Whitney Phillips

Mapping the Relationship Between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture

3.6 (12 ratings)
12 mins

Brief summary

This is Why We Can't Have Nice Things by Whitney Phillips explores internet trolls and their impact on online communication. It reveals the origins, motivations and effects of trolling and offers insights for improving digital communities.

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    This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things
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    Trolling takes many forms, but usually it means posting intentionally hurtful or provocative opinions online.

    If you’ve spent a lot of time clicking and scrolling your way through the internet, you’ve probably heard of online trolling and those who take part in it, the internet trolls. But what is this whole subculture about?

    Trolling is discussed constantly all over the internet and in the media, which can make it difficult to define.

    When it comes to trolling, most people will immediately think of the message boards and comment sections of websites and social media. This is where you’ll find many anonymous users, or trolls, who post nonsensical, disruptive and sometimes offensive comments.

    Many of these comments appear to be posted with the aim of angering others, and the trolls seem to take a perverse pleasure in ruining a complete stranger’s day.

    While these antagonistic web comments can lead to cyberbullying and general online aggression, these blinks will focus on a specific type of trolling: the kind perpetrated by people who self-identify as internet trolls and use highly stylized tactics to intentionally provoke others and produce Lulz.

    Lulz is an aggressive form of humor that mocks anything and everything, allowing trolls to derive their pleasure at the expense of others. These negative emotional reactions from the victims become both the reason and justification for Lulz.

    But even as we focus on this one area, we can still find a wide spectrum of trolling behavior.

    While some of it is incredibly aggressive, disturbing, tasteless and comes close to crossing the legal threshold for harassment, other forms are comparatively harmless.

    Take Rickrolling for example: this is a tame form of trolling, much like a schoolboy prank, where internet surfers click on a link only to find themselves redirected to a clip of Rick Astley’s 1987 hit “Never Gonna Give You Up.”

    As we’ll see, the word “trolling” is a complex term that brings together a wide variety of people, ideas, intentions and actions.

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    What is This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things about?

    This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things (2015) explores the subculture of trolling: where it came from, who does it, why they do it and what exactly it is they do. The book examines the blurred line between a malicious online attack and revealing social commentary, and shows how trolling and mainstream culture have come to form a close bond.

    Who should read This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things?

    • Victims of internet trolling
    • Critics of traditional media
    • Anyone interested in internet subcultures

    About the Author

    Whitney Phillips earned her PhD in communications at the University of Washington; This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things is a revised version of her dissertation. Her findings on trolling have appeared in numerous publications, including Scientific American, NYMag, The Atlantic, VICE and The New York Times.

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