Twitter trolling became an art form in 2013, with corporations scrambling to put out fires and fallen celebrities feeling the internet’s wrath, 140 characters at a time. Some were open with their behavior from the beginning, while others attempted to hide their trolling ways in the shadows.
In no particular order, here are ten of the troll-iest moments that defined Twitter in 2013.
1. Burger King finds out the hard way a strong password is essential.
Next to their creepy King getting caught up in a sex scandal (bound to happen), Burger King’s worst nightmare is probably a McDonald’s takeover. That’s exactly what happened when hackers accessed the BK account last President’s Day, and enemy #1 had their logo front and center — the Fish McBites background really drove it home. BK followers witnessed a feed that made zero mention of flame-grilled Whoppers and was filled with hip-hop slang and shout-outs. What started as a social media nightmare for the fast food giant, turned out to be a blessing in disguise, garnering 30,000 new followers by the day’s end. The enemy of course denied any involvement.
2. Teens hit up their parents for drugs. Comic Nathan Fielder is basically the Jimmy Kimmel of Twitter, in that he loves setting up a good prank that leaves many confused, angry, and possibly sobbing. The man knows a little bit of social media psychology and a willing group of test subjects is all that’s needed to create a Twitter prank masterpiece. Fielder asked his Twitter followers to text their parents with, “Got 2 grams for $40,” followed by “Sorry ignore that txt.” He then kicked up his heels and waited, while his prankster minions posted a mixture of freak out responses and angry threats from confused parents.
Here’s the thing, once somebody gets a taste for Twitter blood, they crave more.
3. Nathan Fielder ruins relationships across the internet. Not satisfied with wreaking havoc on the lives of total strangers simply once, Nathan Fielder stepped it up even more back in May with his prank for murdering relationships. He asked his followers to text their significant others with, “I haven’t been completely honest with you,” then wait. And just like that, a thousand relationships burst into flames.
//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js4. Paula Deen gets trolled as expected. 2013 was really not the best year for Paula Deen. Giving up a diet consisting of 60 percent butter can mess with a person. In Deen’s case, that meant coming out as a racist with the mindset of an 1800’s plantation owner. Rather than retreat to the island of disgraced celebrities with Dog the Bounty Hunter and Michael Richards, Paula took to Twitter asking for potluck recipes. The result wasn’t so much a suggestion for crock-pot ideas, as it was a tsunami of jokes and hate tweets.
5. A troll almost got beat down by a professional boxer. When it comes to Twitter trolling, it really boils down to two categories: good spirited fun and just plain mean. The shadows of the internet aren’t as shadowy as they once were and in this day and age, a troll can be often be unmasked in a relatively short amount of time. This is exactly what former soccer player turned boxer, Curtis Woodhouse, did after tiring of online abuse from an anonymous troll, who would later be revealed to be a man named, James O’Brien.
Heed the warnings, Twitter trolls. You never know when internet justice is going to come in the form of a boxer knocking on your door.
6. Kyle Kinane’s trolling of Pace Foods. I don’t care if there are claims it was all a hoax, Kyle Kinane’s Twitter interaction with Pace Foods deserves to be here. A man might have lost his job — or possibly his life — over salsa, and his story needs to be told. I encourage you to read the entire Twitter conversation, which has the tension of a Tom Clancy novel, only with more southwest spice.
7. Bank of America learns a lesson in social media. If you have a robot managing your Twitter account, it’s only a matter of time before it breaks down and turns against you. That might be an understandable mistake for a salsa company, but one would think that the world’s third largest bank would be a little more cautious. When a story about Bank of America foreclosing on a New Jersey man’s house went viral, and people began tweeting their outrage, the bank’s Twitter account began replying with auto-tweets. Needless to say, people weren’t exactly interested in “discussing their account concerns.”
And just like that, Bank of America had an immediate opening for a social media coordinator.
8. Patton Oswalt unleashes two-part trolling. Last August, when you were busy working on your Walter White theories or trying to decide which cheese dip would be best for starting the college football season (the answer is jalapeno), Patton Oswalt was spending his weekend re-inventing Twitter trolling. Oswalt left his fans wondering why the comic had suddenly sided with Hitler, only to be trolled with a follow-up tweet that put the first one in a more logical context. It’s probably the closest that Twitter has ever come to being performance art.
9. #AskRKelly backfires for R. Kelly exactly how it should have. It’s generally not the best idea to give the internet an open forum if you’re a celebrity that’s had some public issues in the past. E.g. having been accused of urinating on underage girls. Somebody in R.Kelly’s camp thought it would be a fun promotional move to stage a “Ask Me Anything” session for the singer. And in customary Twitter form, the trolling began.
10. Norm MacDonald trolls Lena Dunham because he’s Norm MacDonald.
We may never fully know Norm MacDonald’s feelings toward Lena Dunham, but some mysteries of the internet are meant to remain that way. The gift we were all bestowed last month was the exact type of bizarre humor that makes Norm MacDonald too great for the masses to ever recognize. Does he enjoy Girls? Was it all a coordinated plan between him and Judd Apatow? Is Lena Dunham going to thank him during her next Golden Globes speech? The world may never know.