Everyday in Social Media you make a choice about what to say and how you say it. Most people choose to be friendly; some choose to be sarcastic or snarky; and yet others choose to be trolls. There has been quite a bit of debate on what defines a troll including a hot debate recently in #Blogchat. Like many other things in life, there is no black or white answer – but what defines a troll to ME is the intent of the comments and the disruption that they cause in Social Media. Communications that are otherwise going splendidly, are hijacked by these rude or inflammatory monkey wrenches suddenly thrown into the stream. It appears to me that trolls and bullies are very similar in that they are looking for attention, even if it’s only negative attention, that is usually at the expense of others.
“Don't feed the trolls” is a wise sentiment on a fabulous Bit Rebel Infographic by Cheryl @Partyaficionado. This seems to be the key in diffusing the behavior. If you feed them, they will continue and your emotional reaction to the mean, hurtful or rude comments will only fuel them more. It will disrupt the chat or discussion that you are having or possibly change the tone of a blog commenting thread.
A tweet from @thedomesticexec said “don't feed the trolls, they will eat your soul.” Ok, so they may not really eat your soul but negative emotions can transfer very easily. Don't give this person the power over you! Stop and think before you fire off a rude comment that all your friends and followers will see. Humor seems to diffuse the nasty tone and taking the high road is always advisable in these situations. It is a waste of your time to engage in pointless debate with someone whose only intent was make you angry.
My friend Dino Dogan told me “if you aren't pissing someone off at least once a day, you are doing something wrong.” While I certainly won't be trying to make anyone angry, evoking a passionate response from someone, positively or negatively, is better than no response at all. The choice is yours as to how you handle it. Be mindful of your reactions to trolls and don't let their negativity sway you from your personal brand or goals.
What are YOUR thoughts on trolls and their behavior? Have you encountered any & how did you handle it? Love to hear from you!
Article by Peg Fitzpatrick