Wise with words

Lorri Drumm

Regardless of our job titles, some of us have our own idea of how we would prefer to be identified.

When put in a situation where I have to identify myself, I claim to be a reporter. It’s accurate. I report stuff.

But I also try to make reporting more interesting for both myself and the reader through word-choice. Nothing makes my day more than an unusual word.

So, if I could choose my title, I’d like to be a wordsmith. A wordsmith is skilled in the use of words. Admittedly, I may be more skilled in the use of finding synonyms on the internet. I can at least aspire to become a wordsmith.

It doesn’t take a wordsmith to notice that many words change their meaning throughout the years, so it’s good to check multiple sources if you’re uncertain.

Take for instance the word “troll.”

A troll was once a mythical, cave-dwelling being depicted in folklore as either a giant or a dwarf, typically considered gruesome in appearance.

I picture a dirty, raggedy-clothed, deformed creature under a bridge.

Then along came a doll craze, more than once, that had kids begging for stumpy, crazy-haired toys.

Invented in 1959 by a Danish woodworker, troll dolls became a North American toy craze in the early 1960s and again in the ’90s.

I can’t remember any special features of the troll doll. If you were into tangled up, matted down hair, a troll doll was definitely your thing.

Troll has another affiliation these days, and yet, it’s still associated with ugliness and can be hair-raising.

Trolling is defined as creating discord on the Internet by starting quarrels or upsetting people by posting inflammatory or off-topic messages in an online community. A social media troll is someone who purposely says something controversial in order to irritate other users.

Trolls don’t typically have any factual knowledge of a subject and they don’t seem to care if their comments completely distract people from the topic of a post. Distraction seems to be their intent, as they promote their own agenda.

But, don’t confuse trolling with arguing. People arguing a point or voicing their opinion have a purpose. They may be trying to persuade or enlighten or maybe they just want to argue.

Someone who argues a point isn’t trolling. A wild and unwarranted comment about that person’s mother is trolling.

An off-topic remark intended to incite anger is trolling.

So, if you’re looking to whittle down a friend list or just use social media in a pleasant way, the hair-raising trolls should probably be the first to go.

That is how all this works.

Lorri Drumm was transplanted to both Warren and its newspaper in 2018. Since then, every day has started with visions of Conewango Creek and ended with a little bit more knowledge of the local area. A former reporter from Crawford County, Drumm’s resume includes a 10-week internship at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and an almost fellowship at Marquette University.