Trolls are the nastiest portion of the internet. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they all lurk behind the veil of the Internet and the computer or phone screen. They feel confident hurling vile words and charges at the general population, frequently abusing free speech, and getting away with their bullying tactics.
Some people wonder how such horrible people can exist, how angry they must be, how miserable and depressed they must be… but trolls come from all walks of life! They’re even bots at times!
The 10 Best Ways to Deal with a Cyberbully or Internet Troll
- Know what you’re up against and who you’re dealing with.
- Always keep your safety in mind.
- Don’t take anything too seriously.
- Recognize that they’re almost certainly incorrect.
- It’s not you who’s at fault; it’s them.
- Send them a comment, but don’t send it.
- They should be reported.
- Find the people who can help you.
- Look for empathy deep, deep below.
- Never respond to anything.
Let’s take a look at five of the ten techniques to deal with the famed online troll:
1. Be aware of what you’re up against and who you’re dealing with.
Is it a human or a bot? Is it a bored 14-year-old who stays up until 3 a.m. to start something, or a 50-year-old who is bound by some unshakeable belief? We can’t always tell who the troll is. However, there are certain minor clues that can help you find out who you’re working with:
Take note of the following language trends: Take note of their punctuation, wording, and comment patterns. Do they write in a way that shows they are of a younger generation (e.g. “GOAT”), do they utilize British English punctuation, do they have a large vocabulary, or do they frequently misspell? What terminology do they use to refer to topics? — Keeping track of keywords might reveal a lot about the individual you’re working with.
What are they fixated on: What exactly is it that they are fixated on? Did you make a post regarding gay rights? Have you made a post about vegetarians or meat eaters? Did you make a post on a war in another country? What they are triggered by can reveal a lot about their personality.
What is the following information about their profile: Bots or troll accounts can be very small at times. They have no followers on Instagram, for example. That account was set up as a spam account. Bots are inhuman in their responses, blasting the same thing on the same topic over and over again (political accounts, for example). If it’s a personal account, they’ll almost certainly display their name prominently. Determine whether or not the account is genuine.
You can figure out what kind of person you’re dealing with by observing these factors… if it’s a person at all.
2. Always remember to be safe.
Keep your safety in consideration when responding to or addressing a troll. Nowadays, everyone’s information is available everywhere, and people enjoy blackmailing each other. You never know what someone’s agenda is, no matter how much you want to tell them to “flop off.”
Some people are ruthless, and they will go to any length to make your life a living nightmare. We’ve seen this a lot with cyberbullies, who frequently drive teenagers and young people to suicide. It’s a disaster. Never, ever How to Avoid Trolls on Social Media
3. Don’t take things too seriously.
Because trolls try to make things personal, this is the most difficult component of dealing with them. They’ll take apart every facet of your personality and values in order to persuade you to give in and participate in pointless back-and-forth. Consider how much time you’d be wasting if you did that… maybe 1% of the time if you’re dealing with a real person, you could respectfully agree to disagree, but it’d be pointless!
Trolls exist solely to be mean. You haven’t done anything wrong; you’re simply being yourself. Regrettably, the world is full of rejection and criticism as well. People who criticize often do it from a place of poor self-esteem. Hey, don’t let that bother you—if they’re troubling you, it’s probably because they’re insecure about your ability to be out and proud about whatever you’re sharing with the world. They can live in their own little bubble, alone and miserable. Keep up the good work! (Easier said than done, to be sure.) It’s true that practice makes perfect. How to Avoid Trolls on Social Media
4. Recognize that they are almost certainly incorrect.
Unless you openly misstated a truth, such as “there are four continents on Earth,” and someone corrected you (granted, they should correct you kindly if they are mature and respectable), the troll is almost certainly incorrect. Sure, picking sides means removing half of reality, but your reality is yours to live! They’re wrong if you say on Facebook, “We need to stop using straws,” and a troll says, “That’s foolish, that won’t change anything.” One fewer straw thrown away to end up in a landfill makes a small difference… but it’s still a difference!
Choose to live in a world where your truth is your truth, even if you have differing ideas (whatever you think is your truth, period). Although ignorance isn’t always bliss, keep in mind that someone might disagree with you, but that’s their problem, not yours. “If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all,” is an old adage we learn as children. On another post, the troll is invited to join other trolls for a party. How to Avoid Trolls on Social Media
5. It’s not you who’s the problem; it’s them.
They have a problem. They come to your platform with the intention of spreading hatred. Okay, so you spewed some venom and they’re harping on it, but it’s still your sounding board. You didn’t send them a friendly invitation saying, “Hey, I’ve got something very annoying, come here and harass me.” No, they went out of their way to find you… they’re the ones who have the problem.
It’s not about you; it’s about them. Anyone with enough time on their hands to spend harassing others online is wasting their time and their lives. Is it possible to win a troll award? I’m not sure, but I’ve never seen one before. Is there an award for “influencer of the year”? Yes, I agree. Is there such a thing as a neighborhood hero? Yes, I agree. I don’t know about you, but I feel sad for them if you’re using your position to make a difference and bring actual concerns to light, and someone is throwing dirt at you with words.
Congratulations and best wishes. How to Avoid Trolls on Social Media