Jamelle Bouie on trolls


From A Conversation with Jamelle Bouie at The Hairpin.

When did you start getting trolled?

I think I’ve always had trolls of some sort. I think the phenomenon of getting attention from the right-wing blogosphere, right-wing Twitter—the very hyper-specific racist trolls that seek out people of color to harass them—that started after the 2012 election. And, that was a good year for me. The great thing about election years for political writers is that, if you write well, you can increase your visibility. Which then of course means trolls.

What did a good year look and feel like to you?

A good year is when I think I’m writing a lot, writing well, when everything’s trafficking very well—traffic patterns where you can notice that you actually have an audience, and people aren’t just stumbling across your writing, but actively trying to read what you do.

I think I started doing a bit more media that year—radio and TV, I mean—and around all of that is when the number of trolls took a sharp uptick. Then, in 2013, I did way more media, I switched jobs, and the Daily Beast gets much more traffic than the Prospect, so it’s a much more public platform. Last summer is when the quantity of racist trolls quintupled.