We do have a word for this

But even after I stopped looking, I kept wondering: why did I like this? What made me want to know so much about notorious Instagram influencer Caroline Calloway in the first place? Why was I so invested in how Bachelor contestant Victoria Fuller conducted her sex life? What was it about these dramas that made me want to watch, and what was it about these women that inspired so much gleeful pleasure?


We don’t yet have a word that describes this particular online action. According to a glossary developed by Pen America, there are words for the people who interact with public figures just to be mean (trolls) and words for people who read something just because they dislike the author (hate-reads) and words for the groups that form with the purpose of harassing a single person (dogpiling).

But there isn’t a good word for these snark-based communities that spring up around a particular figure or the strange bonds that form between people based on mutual distaste.


As anyone who has actually met a few human beings knows a group of women chatting will do so in a manner very different from a group of men. This is fine, no problem. One major difference being that the women are likely to be talking about people – oft those known to, part of the group but just not there right now – and the men about things or at least subjects rather more divorced from the immediate group.

Yes, of course, this is not an absolute rule but it’s a tendency that can be observed.

Oh, and a useful theory for the invention of language is so that one can gossip about group members who are, after all, one’s major rivals in this thing called evolution and life. And, yep, we do usually find that women have better verbal skills than men.

So, birds natter better, about peeps, often enough in negative tones. So, what’s a good descriptor of a snark-based community? Female.

6 thoughts on “We do have a word for this”

  1. ” there are words for the people who interact with public figures just to be mean (trolls)”

    Thats not trolling. A troll is someone who adopts a controversial or contrary stance online,that they don’t really believe or think, just to provoke a reaction. Being rude about someone if you actually dislike them is not trolling, its just being rude.

  2. “women talk about people, men talk about things”

    Interesting to see that gay men (stereotypically) talk about people more than things; and lesbians (again, stereotypically) talk about things more than people.

  3. notorious Instagram influencer Caroline Calloway

    I am delighted to say I have no idea who this is and won’t use google to find out. However, it reminds me that Dispatches is about to show a documentary about how celebs charge substantial sums to promote charities. This doesn’t surprise me but it is great to be able to have another reason to ignore and despise celebrities.

    Anyway, I digress. The documentary trailer shows Caitlyn/Bruce Jenner getting involved (presumably the already addled are easier to sting) with a fake charity. Apparently the cost for getting promoted on his instagram is $12,000 per post!!! Astounding. Although apparently 10m people follow him on instagram and 165m follow his daughter Kylie.

    I’m not sure what point I am making here other than modern life is rubbish and I’m starting to actively welcome either the Caliphate or the sweet meteor of death.

  4. “Dispatches is about to show a documentary about how celebs charge substantial sums to promote charities.”

    But the recent BBC employment tribunal ruling has ruled that a person’s celebrity has zero value, and must not be charged for. Only skill can be charged for.

  5. “We do have two words for this” – Vacuous Female

    Katy Kelleher provides a list of “Who?”, TV programmes etc to add to Love Island, soaps, reality… to avoid

    C4 airing “Celebrity Bakeoff” – Who?

    @Jim, MC +1

    @jgh – snigger

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