Trolls are unfortunately a side effect of social media.
Before the internet was invented, they were the cantankerous losers hiding in basements, grumbling at the walls about how the world was so unfair.
Unfortunately the internet gave them a voice. That doesn’t mean we have to listen, hard as it can be to avoid them sometimes.
The Troll and the Writers Gruff
This sounds like some kind of children’s story. In a way it is. When I think of trolls I picture the one who sat under the bridge and gave the billy goats a load of grief. In fact, let’s re-write this to suit the arseholes who troll us on the internet.
There once was a mean troll who sat under his self-entitled Bridge of All the Internet. This git thought he owned the bridge and that anyone who dared to step a foot on it owed him something, mainly attention.
There were also three writers who lived together, God help them, and had run out of writing ideas. Therefore they were feeling grumpy and gruff. They knew the Bridge of All the Internet was a magic gateway to writing success. If they could negotiate that surely they could write a bestseller?
The first writer decided to step on to the bridge.
The troll’s inner ‘Someone is daring to enter the web’ radar kicked in. He poised his fingers over the keyboard controls to the bridge and prepared to annihilate the first writer’s skill.
The first writer begged the troll to lay off and that another writer would be along soon so the troll could pick on them instead.
The troll said, ‘No way. I live to destroy anyone who looks like they’re having a life.’
The two other writers joined their buddy on the bridge, armed with Google and a community of writers behind them. They rushed at the troll and took away his toys so he couldn’t be a bitch on the internet anymore.
From then on the internet was free of trolls. Just kidding. The arseholes are everywhere.
The Keyboard Warrior
A troll is basically a keyboard warrior without a plausible fighting cause.
Trolls are there to cause offence or be offended. Nothing you say or do will change their stance. Your words are just white noise.
They love nothing more than hearing the clickety click of their fingers on the keyboard, apparently setting the world to rights.
These are the people who want you to pay for being successful, happy, having an opinion, or being open.
Do Not Feed the Trolls
Trolls feed on responses, particularly those where we show we’re offended.
Do not feed the trolls. They grow bigger with every response they get. They get fat on you taking offence.
I know it’s hard not to respond when a stranger attacks you. It’s human nature to want to stand up for yourself. Of course you want people to know that you’re not the bad version of yourself that they think you are.
You will never convince a troll you are anything but what they have decided you are. It isn’t personal. They don’t know you. They have probably written similar comments to many others. You are one of many fishes they hope will take the bait.
The Troll in Disguise
These trolls are the most dangerous and sneaky bastards. I’ll admit I’ve been sucked in by them.
Recently I engaged with someone who followed me on social media after she made a sweeping statement about a mental health issue in a post I wrote. I respectfully replied, thinking that would be the end of it.
She then launched a venomous attack on me, labelling me self-involved, selfish, and using mental illness for recognition.
I saw she had a previous mental illness and therefore was compassionate in a message I sent to her. She then lashed poison at me, even making nasty comments about my brother’s suicide. I blocked her on all social media after that.
The point I’m trying to make is that trolls can seem like reasonable people initially. This is a strategy to get you on the wrong foot from the beginning.
Such people rely on our good natures. They are the people who wait and watch, looking for their prey.
I have no doubt now this woman had been following me for a while and knew I was passionate about breaking mental illness stigmas after having depression and anxiety.
She was waiting for her moment to make me look bad to others and was angry when I took it to private messaging rather than giving her an open forum.
She may read this. If she does, I couldn’t care less. If she comments on this post, it will never be approved because I’m not playing that game.
Don’t get burned by trolls in disguise. Always be mindful of how a conversation is going on social media with a seemingly innocent person.
Most people are great though. Give them a chance but be mindful.
Don’t Waste Your Time on a Troll
I deliberated over whether or not to write this post because I don’t like to give trolls recognition. I decided to write and publish this because they need to be called out.
Trolls need to know I have no time for them and if they see that as an invitation to step up their game on my social media channels and this blog, so be it. I won’t tolerate or engage with it.
I wrote this post because there are people out there who have been destroyed by trolls.
I want you to know you didn’t invite this. Human beings are social creatures. We want to feel accepted. When another person makes you feel like crap, that has an impact.
Please try to take a step back though and consider how rubbish a human that troll is and not worthy of your consideration.
When a troll strikes I always take time away to consider my response. An immediate reply will usually ignite a fire. Trolls want to make you look bad.
As a writer who wants to sell books, this does you no favours if you behave as badly as the troll. As a human being, you won’t win by being as much of a bitch as the troll.
Next time that troll sits on the bridge and wants to disrupt you, walk on by, and watch them squirm and wither.
Over to You
How do you deal with trolls? What advice would you give?
Have you had problems with trolls?