Date of Award

Spring 5-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Dr. D'Lane Compton

Second Advisor

Dr. Vern Baxter

Third Advisor

Dr. Ana Croegaert


Within recent years, there has been a significant increase in popular commentary on internet trolls and what they mean for online interactions. Significant attention is often paid to framing trolls as individual, pathological, and atypical. While there is much one-sided dialogue occurring in the media, however, the literature on internet trolling remains scarce. This exploratory study contributes to the developing literature by addressing internet trolls directly. Drawing on interviews with a self-identified troll and content analysis, this thesis aims to understand how trolls operate, interact, and make meaning while highlighting the role of identity and emotions. This study finds that internet trolls are highly organized and social, in direct contradiction to the prevailing media narrative.


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