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.