In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room or blog with the intent of provoking readers into an emotional response, just to disrupt normal on-topic discussion.
“Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, but the pig likes it.” This George Bernard Shaw quote was the advice given to be by one of my oldest and dearest friends, Pundit Rachel Campos-Duffy. After being on a reality TV Show, host of ABC’s “The View” and up against heavy crossfire on many political programs, she ought to know.
I consider myself pretty positive, loving and easy-going person who often goes out of the way to help others. But sometimes, crap gets to me. I am human and imagine anyone reading this has been in the same ‘boots’. When I worked in Radio, and I mean any station I ever worked at, listeners never held back what they thought of us when they called in. That never bothered me, but seeing it written, in an environment I have built, and work so hard to curate, really gets to me, sometimes. As with all learning lessons in life, it’s what you can take away from a situation, even when it is being the object of a trolls desire.
What do you do when a trolls trolling you?
Most obvious thing to do is IGNORE, and realize that a “troll” has a sole purpose of trying to get attention. They don’t seem to discriminate between bad, or good attention. They just want people to look at them. Kind of like a peacock during its mating ritual. The male displays his colorful feathers then calls out loudly to the female (peahen), he does a funky dance, and if she’s into it, they mate. Peacocking from the Urban Dictionary also means dressing for attention, referring to how Peacock’s display their vibrant feathers to attract a mate.
On-air, online and in real time
We pass along our opinions, experience and craft practices to others. It often feels like certain types of people look for the little cracks and crevices in your persona, or things you have worked hard for, and they creep into your world only to try to smack you with a ball peen hammer just to make themselves feel bigger.
There is no EXACTLY right way to handle this situation.
In working with several high-profile personalities, and continuously seeing people say mean and, quite often, unwarranted things to each other, it just bums me out. It is my belief that if you have not walked in someone else’s shoes, how do you feel justified to criticize or even judge them? Don’t misunderstand; there are societal wrongs that we can all agree on (but that would be a WHOLE other post).
I just don’t get why people bring their garbage online and go on a mission to hurt others or try to sabotage things others have worked hard to build. Almost every other day *if not several times a day* I see a friend who is experiencing some sort of turmoil over negative and often invalid words said to them by someone else. I even get crazy, and mean things said to me. Clients get told they can’t act, sing, create or they’re stupid … horrific, nasty, derogatory mentions, I’ve even fielded death threats for celebrity clients. I really have no idea what compels someone to want to rain down hate on someone else’s parade??
As an adult I’ve been around a couple terrible bullies and it was even difficult for me. I now look at those people and just feel so sorry for them. Not really angry anymore cause that kinda mean comes from people who don’t really like themselves so much. I think the important thing to remember is not to give your power to these kind of people. When you ignore them, block, turn your cheek….they have no power over you….and the people who still engage these kind of people are usually scared of them, and don’t want to be their next target.
So when you’re thinking OH NO THEY’RE TALKING ABOUT ME or their turning people against me, COUNT THAT AS A BLESSING cause anyone who’d be susceptible to that BS prolly isn’t someone you need in your life anyways.
SO if it don’t apply, let it fly. PERIOD.
Sometimes you just got to hit block, and report. All of the platforms have amazing help centers where you can report when you are being harassed.
AND always know you’re NOT alone. Parents of kids going through this, friends/peers going thorugh this, students who might be reading this ANYONE who needs someone to talk to….I am ALWAYS HERE FOR YOU. just ask. I also know a lot of agencies/organizations that can help you.
Now if you are getting the same criticism over and over again, and it really really bothers you, maybe you should look at it, however there are just people out there who are happy being peacocks, pigs and trolls.
In the words of Miss Taylor Swift, “why ya gotta be so mean?”
How do you protect yourself or your online community from bullys, trolls and/or disruptive forces online?
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