Last week’s event with Don Cherry was big news in Canada. Coverage and opinions were everywhere.
I first read about it in a “breaking news” article from the Toronto Star and shared it to Twitter. I was hoping that my connections would respond with more details. I had searched and couldn’t find anything at the time. Details became very clear later in the day.
In the meantime, a principal that I had formerly worked with gave her opinion and used the word “diverse” in the reply. I saw it and it seemed to be consistent with about half of those who were talking about it. The topic was now trending on Twitter.
By this time, I was out doing some work and my phone/watch kept sending me notifications. I didn’t recognize any of them and so just basically ignored them, figuring that I would get caught up later on.
And I did.
It turns out that the trolls had zeroed in on the principal’s message. They were replying to her and because I sent the original message, me. For the most part, the comments were not nice. Actually, they were venomous. Their ire was directed at her use of that one word.
I think we’ve all cutely talked about not posting things that you wouldn’t want your grandmother to read. If that was the metric used here, I wouldn’t want to meet their grandmothers.
Upon further investigation, I’m pretty sure that these repliers weren’t legitimate people accounts. I started looking at biographies and noticed what I would have expected. There was very limited detail; the username often included a bunch of random numbers, and a quick peek at their other Twitter messages showed that the messages were not reserved for the two of us.
Bizarrely, none of them claimed to be Canadian. They claimed to be from Mississippi, Missouri, Georgia, Florida, … The topics weren’t productively talking about hockey or television but rather about racist things. I’m convinced we hadn’t run into a hot nest of Hockey Night in Canada and Coach’s Corner fans.
I started blocking them but I realized that it was probably fruitless. If they wanted to continue with this nonsense, they could easily create another numbered account.
I closed my computer for the evening. (The topic was still trending)
When I awoke the next day, dreading what I might find, there was nothing.
As quickly as the flurry of messages had arrived, they had stopped. I guess they weren’t really vested in their opinions or a squirrel had run by and they had lost attention.
As we know, the whole thing played out during the week maybe culminating with Ron MacLean last night. It definitely was a hot topic and trending all the same.
Fortunately, I had moved out of the trolls’ gunsights.