Social media is a scary place. Although it’s given us intimate access to the lives of people near and far, it’s also shown us a pattern of negative behavior and lack of kindness, consideration and empathy for others. Ironically, the anonymity of a social profile has given a voice for some to spew hate for sometimes no reason at all other than personal insecurities. We call this person the Social Media Troll. We’ve seen this person on popular news outlets, social profiles or on our favorite celebrities’ pages. They offer unsolicited comments or replies to posts of people who more times than not don’t even know them. Trolls are Negative Nancy times ten. They take a beautiful picture or moment and critique anything and everything about it. They even comment on things that would seem off limits like children and weight.
As more and more of us launch our own businesses or strive to showcase our personal brands, you might become susceptible to a social media troll. Dealing with a troll can be annoying and frustrating. After all, their entire goal is to transfer their negative energy and anger to you. So what’s the best way to handle it?
Before we discuss, let’s level set and make sure we aren’t personally displaying troll-like behavior. Don’t get offended, but we personally have to reflect the characteristics we would like to see in others, so it’s important to do a self-check from time to time.
What’s troll-like behavior? Have you ever found yourself doing any of the following?
- Commenting something negative about someone under the Shaderoom or your favorite gossip profile
- Replying to a political squabble by ultimately insulting the other party’s intelligence
- Aggressively giving your two cents on a celebrity’s page about a recent scandal they are involved in
- Showing your disapproval for one artist because of your fandom for another artist (Beehive we love you, but we are talking to you! lol)
- Speculated and commented that someone is pregnant or gained weight based on a recent picture they posted
Of course, social media is meant to be a community of interaction, but there’s a fine line between adding constructive comments to a discussion and being an all-out troll. That difference being the intent to anger, upset and inflame others. We’re human, so we might be guilty of some of these troll-like behaviors, but it’s best to cease and desist in the future. Remember what your mom used to say, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.”
So now that we’ve addressed ourselves, how do we deal with someone else being a troll?
Ignore the Hate
The easiest thing to do is ignore the troll. Facebook, Instagram, and many other social sites offer a delete comment option, so you can easily remove anything offensive as soon as you see it. If someone constantly trolls your page, use the block button to your advantage.
Change Your Settings
Use your settings to remove the trolls. You can filter out comments based on certain words or phrases, choose to limit the number of comments you can receive or not even allow comments on certain posts. Also, the setting we love is to choose who can comment. So if you’re constantly facing trolls, switch settings to only allow people who follow you or even who you follow to comment. Another setting to think about is whether or not your account is public or private. It’s understandable if you are trying to run a business that you might want your account public, but otherwise, it might be safer to just opt for a private account.
Reply with Kindness
Kill that troll with kindness! After receiving a nasty comment, take a deep breathe and don’t react immediately. Unfortunately, this troll is probably more internally hurt than you will ever know. Being kind will probably throw them completely off. Plus it doesn’t give them the satisfaction they wanted.
Ok. Sometimes a troll might need to be put in their place a little bit especially if they took things way to far. It’s okay to reply, but try to be direct and not go for insults but facts only. Remember that tonality is hard to read online. Also, try not to engage in back and forth commentary. It’s okay to agree to disagree.
Dealing with a troll can also depend on whether or not you know this person. If you do actually know the troll, why not take the conversation offline and come to a consensus that way. Otherwise, consider how you want to respond if at all. Just remember what the wise Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”