"This is Why We Can't Have Nice Things": A Review

"This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things" by Whitney Phillips. Photo by Arianna Endicott.
"This is Why We Can't Have Nice Things: Mapping the Relationship between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture" was written by Whitney Phillips. Phillips is an Assistant Professor of Communication, Culture and Digital Technologies at Syracuse University.

In this podcast, Erika Denver and Arianna Endicott discuss Phillips' book, the history of "trolling," what it means to "troll" online and the strengths and weaknesses of the book.
After finding out about "trolling" from her brother, Phillips set out to find out why these "trolls" felt the need to act the way they did online. During her research, Phillips found that trolls often fed off each other in order to establish an "in" group among one another. Eventually, this phenomenon became so widespread, that it became an entire internet subculture.
Phillips argued that these trolls were not the outsiders; in fact, she said that they fit in to our society and in fact feed off each other while using societal norms as fuel.
One recent example of trolling involves the snake emoji, Taylor Swift and Kim Kardashian West in 2016. After Kardashian West's husband, Kanye West, used Swift's name in one of his songs, Swift denied having agreed to her name being used in the song. Kardashian West then tweeted, allegedly calling Swift a snake, and posted a video of Swift's verbal agreement to the lyrics. Trolls then began spamming Swift's Instagram comments with the snake emoji, seemingly thriving off the sense of power that Kardashian West had given them.
"This is Why We Can't Have Nice Things" won the 2016 Nancy Baym Best Book Award from the Association of Internet Researchers. It is available for purchase from Amazon, Barnes and Noble or MIT Press.
Follow Erika @erika_denver and Arianna @ariannaendic on Twitter.
Royalty free music licensed under the Attribution Creative Commons 4.0 License. Song: "Upbeat Digital Technology" by Alex Sachi for HookSounds.

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