Trolls in the Hood Peg Fitzpatrick

Trolls in the ‘Hood

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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

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  1. Thanks for your comments Jure! Of course you aren’t a troll! It is a great idea to attach tag like the scarlet letter but it could be a “T” for troll. They might enjoy the title of “Biggest Troll of the Day!” But I do think that ignoring them is the best way. 

  2. I don’t think I agree Dane – I have encountered quite a few trolls who get off on offending/derailing the thread.

    I still get sucked in periodically, but I keep promising myself not to do it again.

    1. Hi Amy!
      I too have seen people do it on purpose, especially in a chat and a few times in blog comments.

      I try really hard not to let myself respond with negativity, it just isn’t me!
      Thanks for reading & commenting!

  3. Dane,
    I agree with you in some instances but there are times when individuals are are just mean. Even after they are being told that they are hurting your feelings. 

    I do agree with you on the drunken trolls – they might not know what they are doing and regret it later. Don’t let friends drink and tweet people!

    And the bright side you mention is of course very bright ~ there are very few people that I have seen that participate in this type of behavior and I have also had friends support me if I did have something negative occur. The positive comments and conversation with true friends that care about you and your feelings far out weighs a few troll tweets.

    I have seen this happen recently: “people who troll on purpose in order to drive traffic to their site.” And I just feel sorry for them. You can always catch more bees with honey than vinegar!


  4. Dabney,

    I do agree with you on the whole bully/troll issue! I think that we use troll instead of bully but you are right, they are synonymous terms. Bullying hurts no matter who you are or what age. Being in a public arena that turns up the volume doesn’t help!

    I love this:” I am a very big believer that not one person has the right to deflate you, define you or steal your mo jo, without your consent.” Amen sistah!!

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment and for sharing my post. I appreciate that very much!


  5. There are different types of trolls with different strategies and issues that impact them emotionally and psychological. 

    There are some who are opinionated, supposedly intelligent but really they are buillies in disguise and think they can run over people with no regard for anybody except themselves. Now some of them I feel sorry for them because when the wake up call comes it will ibe devastating. They are ego driven primarily but don’t understand how to control themselves and their overbearing negativity.  

    I make a point depending on context to support them for voicing what may be a misguided opinion or lack of knowledge. And sometimes behavior changes when empathy and understanding is used whilst pointing out how their actions impact others

    Having dealt with a lot of anti social behavior throughout my career in government I understand the things that drive these people and always err on the side of trying not to judge anybody.  

    It is really difficult to be balanced and to know where to draw the line. But if there is a persistent theme the only option is to leave them and let them suffer the consequences because there is only so much you can help certain people sometimes they just need to feel the consequences. 

    1. Kenny is on my blog! 

      I greatly appreciate and respect your thoughts on this opinion. We have been around the same ‘hoods quite a bit and seen a few things together. It is so considerate of you to employ empathy and understanding in these instances, you are always a gentleman.

      I feel bad for this type of troll: “They are ego driven primarily but don’t understand how to control themselves and their overbearing negativity ” certainly there can be no prize for flashing the biggest ego.

      Like you, I try to strike a balance, be fair but not be bullied.
      Thanks for sharing!

      1. Peggy and you exemplify how to use social media in a positive way. And it is always a pleasure to see you in my stream because you are fun, smart and engaging.

        I don’t want to see a stream of negative tweets. I understand sometimes people get upset and need to vent. And that is cool as long as it is not constant belligerence. 

        I have seen so much negativity through my work and I have seen some exemplary examples of how people have turned from being incredibly negative to being absolutely awesome examples of how to contribute to society and I try to keep that in mind. 

        There is so much negativity in the world. I don’t want to add to it. i want to inspire, help and be the best person I can be at all times. 

        Go Fabulous 🙂 And say Hello to Mr F for me I loved his post. 🙂  

        1. I wish this was a tweet so I could favorite it: “you exemplify how to use social media in a positive way. And it is always a pleasure to see you in my stream because you are fun, smart and engaging.” Thank you so much for that!  

          My last job was in Social Work and I saw plenty of negativity too! People were shocked that I would say hi or ask them how they were on the phone. Having people be nice to them was not common and it is very sad that others in Social Work were unkind to people.

          I don’t want to add more negativity either! Go totally fabulous!! And I will say hi to Rich for you –  I thought his 6 were pretty darn good.
          Thanks for your kindness at every turn!

  6. When I have encountered them I ignore them. It is a negative behavior that I choose not to encourage. When I have seen people comment back to them it just seems to fuel the fire.  

    Thank you for your post Peg! I am so glad I found your blog through #smgirlfriends! Have a great week ahead! Lisa

    1. Hello Lisa~
      So happy you found my blog through #smGIRLfriends too! 
      Hope you have a fabulous week too!

  7. I actually find the general use of word “trolls” to be a bit problematic. It is often used to de-humanize others (a touch under the guise of humor) and at the same time to raise ourselves up. It is pejorative and feels a bit nasty when it gets tossed around, and I’ve seen it used in such a broad-brush way to mean anything from caustic contributions, to people to firmly won’t agree. And used in such a way that often people don’t even know if they are being included or excluded. Sure, there are people out there who just live on negativity, but how about let’s not de-humanize them into a “kind”. Cheers to Dane for putting a human face on some of “them”. Anything that turns an “us” into a great group at the process of labeling “them” as inherently awful probably isn’t the way to go. Bottom line, it is name calling.

    1. I would tend to NOT click on that headline but I followed your link Kevin from Twitter. Problematic yes but I bet it is effective.

      1. It is often effective to cohere a group through projection of negative qualities vaguely upon others. History definitely has shown that Kat. Is effective desirable? I’m not sure about that. I’ve not seen any good concrete use of the word “troll” (and I’ve been around blogging for a long time). It either is used to hurt or smear others, or just to make “us” feel better, often a bit of both. It is kinda not a nice word.

        1. I can see your point Kevin but it is a commonly used term for this topic. And it could be name calling if I had directed at someone in a tweet or comment.
          Thanks for reading & commenting.Positively,Peggy

          1. Just because it is a  common term doesn’t mean that it is a good way of talking about people. There are a lot of common terms that are a bit mean. I’m just raising the issue – you know me, the troll who ruins the fun party, lol – that it isn’t a very nice word (even though commonly used) and mostly we use it to make ourselves feel a little better by distancing ourselves from others who we vaguely put down. The vague use produces questions like: “Who is Peggy talking about?” (or “I know exactly who Peggy is talking about.”) or “Is Peggy talking about me?” It is just my pov though, there are plenty of people who think the word is harmless. Just not one of them.

          2. Maybe instead of “distancing ourselves from others who we vaguely put down” it is more of trying to reclaim some of the positive energy that this type of behavior claims.

            What name/terminology would you suggest be used for this type of negative behavior that is clearly an issue on Twitter and throughout Social Media?

          3. If we were just being positive, we wouldn’t have to slur. We wouldn’t have to call them monsters…”trolls” undesirable things that hang out under bridges – even Michele’s “Don’t feed the trolls…” (and I love Michelle) infers the animalness or monstrousness of these objectionable kinds of people. What I’m talking about is how we sometimes leverage our “positivity” through negativity towards others, especially in a broad brush way.

            As as for another term, there a lot of candidates even in this thread. How about “negative people”, a little less harsh. Doesn’t get the big emotional rush (and the sexy RTs perhaps), but that is kind of my point.

            I’ve read a few excellent blog posts (and a chat) in the last few months that posed questions like “How to handle negative comments”, which is a different than “What to Do About Trolls” or even “Trolls in the ‘Hood” which has its own flavor to it.

            Again, just my opinion. I realize that writing all this, making my thoughts explicit, I risk being a troll, but that is just me. I’ll bow out of the thread now. 🙂

          4. Just because it is a  common term doesn’t mean that it is a good way of talking about people. There are a lot of common terms that are a bit mean. I’m just raising the issue – you know me, the troll who ruins the fun party, lol – that it isn’t a very nice word (even though commonly used) and mostly we use it to make ourselves feel a little better by distancing ourselves from others who we vaguely put down. The vague use produces questions like: “Who is Peggy talking about?” (or “I know exactly who Peggy is talking about.”) or “Is Peggy talking about me?” It is just my pov though, there are plenty of people who think the word is harmless. Just not one of them.

  8. As sweetly crafted as my humor blog is, I have attracted a few trolls (maybe that’s why..?). I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hurt, for some of them are very skilled at taking pot shots at your soft spots. I try to deal with it with humor, by drawing a Troll and having him smothered by love and hugs and kisses. Normally I ignore inflammatory comments and simply remove the worst of them. However one time I did respond with a simple link to my Troll post, and the instigator acknowledged it with respect and backed off.

    If it’s on my own blog, I’m in control. But if it’s smearing on another site, it’s depressing. There’s nothing I can do without drawing more attention to it. Cyberbullying is very real and dangerous. It’s like being hit by a drunk driver while you are innocently crossing the road. Well done for posting about it peg.

    1. I agree JC – it always hurts when someone says something mean. You have the added layer of putting yourself out there as a writer and an artist. Cyberbullying is a harsh issue and very prevalent. Responding to it is tricky and complicated in many instances. 

      Know that you have many, many more fans (10,791 of them to date, just on Twitter alone) and that the few haters aren’t worth your time. I love the idea of sending your blog link to them – I’ll try that too!

  9. Oooo I agree with this Janet:” people attempting to make others “wrong” because their opinions were different.” We each have our own opinions and that doesn’t make someone else’s wrong. So basic and true!  Cheers Peggy

  10. Hello Kathy,

    Ha – if only we could all be like Scott – telling in like it is! That is very funny. And wise.
    Thanks for stopping by & sharing!

  11. Aloha Janet!
    Thanks for the props! I love that troll picture, we used to have tons of those trolls around in all sizes. 

    I greatly appreciate your sharing your thoughts & always a pleasure to see you around the Twitterverse!


  12. This might come across as a comment from a “troll” but here goes anyway.

    This is a really good example of how “nested” comments actually make things harder for people. Some of the early replies got deep and that made the column widths very narrow, which doesn’t make for a good user experience.

    1. Hello Ivan,
      I just tried it without the nesting and the comments weren’t in order, it made it very hard to follow people’s ideas. I am sorry that reading the narrow comment section wasn’t a good experience for you however; I hope you could follow the train of thoughts in the comments.

      I did try your suggestion 🙂

      1. I guess I’m just used to having them in a more traditional way. It wasn’t a criticism of you, it was just an observation of how threading doesn’t necessarily improve readability.

        1. I appreciated your comments Ivan, they were constructive. I will work in the settings and see if I can improve it.
          Thanks! Peggy

  13. Greetings Parissa!
    I must admit that I have stepped away from some chats and groups too. I agree with your thoughts on “jabs”, no one wins in those situations.

    This is right on the money: “attacks instead of exchange of ideas”! Being right about something isn’t a win situation in every case.
    So appreciate your thoughts!
    You rock,


  14. Great post, Peggy!

    Thanks for confronting this issue and creating a forum for discussion. Based on the comments I have seen over the past several months, I think there is some confusion about what troll-like behavior is. One thing I know, is that it has nothing to do with stating an opinion, freedom of speech, or spirited debate. It has to do with a close-mindedness that comes from belaboring a point and arguing in a manner that hurts others. Far from healthy social media interaction, this bullying behavior drives people away and leaves them weary about any future engagement. The instigators will cry foul, but this demonstrates nothing more than egocentric personalities wrapped in the guise of substance.

    Thanks for continuing to be such a bright light, Peggy — your genuine, positive outlook has brightened many a dreary day.

    1. Paul,
      You cut to the point there in your comment! Being closed-minded is never a benefit to a social setting whether online or in person in my opinion.

      I risked some negative comments, which I got, but the lesson there is that I lived through them. Always appreciate your support and wisdom!
      You rock,


  15. Michelle,

    Hugs! Thanks for the nice comments – being positive is the only way to for me! And yes to this: “Some people are just negative, even if you love them, they aren’t good for your life.” But  that is hard.
    So appreciate your joy and the fun to bring to my life!

  16. Hey Chris~

    I guess it is all part of being human, right? We are emotional and react to others. 

    I like your steps towards making someone angry – it is equivalent to a sucker punch.

    Power to the positive people!!
    Thanks for your thoughts Chris!
    You rock,


  17. Great comments as always Natasha! Your mother’s advice is very sound. 

    Love this: “You have zero control until I hand you my reins.” Yeah girl!


  18. Are trolls typically people within your community who you know? Or is it someone seeking link love? I maybe have been offended 1-2 times, but not to the extent of what you’re sharing. And, hope I don’t!!

    1. Hello Jayme,
      Ahhh such a good question, and yes within my community. I hope you don’t experience it either! 

      Thanks for reading and commenting!
      Peggy 🙂

  19. Peg,

    I had this happen in a LinkeIn question I posted. A guy just got rude with me, insulted me. As much as I thought about being rude back I took the high road. Always a good idea.

    Mark Secko
    Endeavour Solutions

    1. Hi Mark (the Sales Dude)

      I agree – the high road is the best! It is your digital footprint and being negative or angry would not reflect well, especially on Linked In.


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