April Ziemer, Editor

I can remember a time when the first thing that popped into my mind when people used the word “Trolls” were the colorful, crazy-haired characters produced by Dreamworks Animation.

Unfortunately, these days, when I hear someone speaking of “Trolls” they are usually referring to Internet Trolls.

In Internet slang, a troll is a person who posts inflammatory, insincere or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, social media, or blog), with the intent of provoking readers.

In my opinion (which is what this space is intended) Internet trolling, bullying, disrespect or whatever you want to call it, has gotten completely out of control.

There are people who have made a hobby over sitting behind their screens, ranting, judging and criticizing with very little intention of putting forth much effort to actually being a part of the change.

There are others who feel their online antics provided all of the change (if only it were that simple).

As someone who has sat on a variety of volunteer boards in the community I have received emails from those who do not feel the volunteers have done enough in the city, done the right things in the city, done things timely enough in town, etc…

It isn’t always about complaints directed towards change. There are times I have written an article that has been shared online and I have gotten totally beat up for not promoting one side over another or writing too much/too little about a topic that some are passionate about while others are tired of reading.

You know what they say, “You can never please everyone.” A statement I whole-heartedly agree with, but I feel the days are long gone where someone could see something they didn’t like and have a mutual understanding to agree to disagree. Today name calling, and finger-pointing are much more the norm.

A young lady originally from Boyceville, WI. decided she was actually going to be the one to have the last laugh after online trolls posted nasty comments underneath her online singing videos.

“Hitting Back at Haters: Boyceville Native Competes in Season 16 of ‘America’s Got Talent’”

“I am originally from Wisconsin,” said Madilyn Bailey as she took the stage to audition for the prestigious competition NBC television show, which aired last week. “Born and raised in a very tiny town where there are more cows than human being.”

It’s not technically untrue. In 2019, there were 51,000 head of cattle in Dunn County, whereas the population of people was around 45,368.

A YouTuber and TikTok sensation, Bailey appeared on the show with screenshots of hateful comments from her YouTube channel appearing behind her. 

“You’re going to take ugliness and make it beautiful,” commented Howie Mandel, a judge on America’s Got Talent. “That’s a good idea,” added fellow judge Simon Cowell. 

Bailey’s stardom began back in 2008 with the launch of her YouTube channel – which has now garnered over 8.48 million subscribers and more than a billion views in total. Perhaps most famous for her 2012 cover of the hit single “Titanium” by David Guetta, which garnered over 114 million views, Bailey has also found success in a newer medium: TikTok, where she began making songs out of her hate comments.

“The dream for me is to sing songs that I’ve written, that I love, and get it out to as many people as possible,” Bailey told judges Cowell, Mandel, Heidi Klum and Sofia Vergara ahead of her audition. 

I think it is very brave (and honestly genius) for Bailey to use the cruel things others have sent to her and make it a part of her art.

While I am all for people having freedom of speech and the right to their own opinion, I will never understand the need to dull the light of another to make your own shine more brightly.

So, my advice to you dear Boyceville’s very own Maddie Bailey, is to shine. Continue to do what makes your soul shine. Keep dreaming big, while sparkling more and shine so bright that not only can these bullies not dim your light, but let those rays shine so brightly that others who feel shamed from those same type of haters can see their way out of the dark.

Always remember no beauty shines brighter than that of a good heart.

I enjoy sharing my thoughts with you and look forward to readers sharing their thoughts in return.

Feel free to email me at editor@theameryfreepress.com, write me at P.O. Box 424, Amery WI. 54001 or I can be reached by phone at 715-268-8101.

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