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As a content creator, you’re putting yourself out there for the world to judge. From blogging to making videos, a lot of yourself is wrapped up in your project. So, what happens when the social media trolls begin bombarding you with negativity? Are you reactive or proactive?
The sole purpose behind trolling is getting a response from the target. It’s all about trying to find the right buttons to create a negative reaction. Once you’re in that trap, they continue the digital beating until you give up.
Being reactionary is what these individuals are looking for. They feed on chaos and turmoil. Being proactive is a much better way to address these kinds of bottom feeders.
In a moment, I’ll show you what I mean by, “proactive.”
Is All Trolling Negative?
In the extreme case, trolling is nothing more than trying to prod someone into taking action. However, I don’t believe all forms of trolling are the same. For example, I appreciate when trolls attack other trolls or when someone points out the idiotic behavior of others.
If I had to define it, I would say I appreciate trolls who use their power to spark change, not emotion.
But in reality, the severity of trolling is dependent on the individual. Something I probably don’t think of as offensive, someone else might. I won’t apologize for that, especially since everyone has different tastes. Why should I apologize for being me?
With that being said, I do have empathy towards people. I don’t laugh at things like the Amanda Todd suicide, which is incredibly sad. The memes that came from that incident are truly disgusting and evidence of a deranged mind.
Is Trolling a Form of Free Speech?
There is a lot of talk on the Internet about stifling “free-speech” by regulating the comment sections of YouTube or blogs. But are trolls really practicing free-speech, or is it harassment?
People often use free-speech as an argument to allow any comment from any person or group. The freedom of speech shouldn’t be used as a shield against logic and empathy. Is it really you expressing yourself? Not if the goal is to make someone react in a negative way.
Unfortunately, it’s the idea of free-speech that made Russian trolls so successful in campaigns to undermine the US government.
Why are Social Media Trolls Such a Problem?
Trolling is nothing new if you look at it in a certain light. I remember being bullied often in school before the Internet was the monster it is now. Back then, bullies would actually say things to your face to illicit a response.
Nowadays, it’s much easier to reach out into the ether of the cyber world and find a target.
A Layer of Anonymity
Why bully someone to their face when you can just as easily do it by remote? Most trolls are spineless and know if they said some of those things to your face, they’d most likely be met by a right hook.
The Internet delivers protection not just from an identity, but also from physical confrontation. Which is why most social media trolls continue to do what they do…there are no real repercussions in most cases.
The lack of interpersonal connection the Internet provides makes problems like trolling more prolific. How often have you said or done something in person you regret? I know I have many that haunt me to this day.
Looking for Acceptance
The more an audience laughs or becomes part of the Internet trolls clique, the more he or she thrives. Remember the high school bullies? Didn’t most of them have a large following? I know in my school they did, and that’s the key.
In order to look “cool” or “awesome” in the eyes of their so-called friends, trolls are often vicious. Being cheered on by peers, and even sometimes family, they continue the behavior.
And yes, I am also guilty of saying or doing something while looking to be accepted by my peers. The difference between myself and an Internet troll is that I actually feel bad about those things and wish I never did them.
I am riddled with regrets. But never the same instance twice.
Lack of Empathy
Affective empathy is where you can essentially feel what the other person is feeling. Some of us are more apt at this than others, and we often feel emotions far more intense.
However, trolls express cognitive empathy. Which means they can recognize emotions, which often leads to exploitation. They know what will make you hurt and hit you there.
Because more than half of the population of the world has access to the Internet, the trolls of society seem more plentiful. The truth is they were already there. Now they just have a platform to reach a wider audience and be more vocal.
The Best Ways to Be Proactive Against Trolling
Social media trolls are much more easier to handle than what people often realize. You can even address the ones who lavish you in negative comments.
Ignore them Completely
Perhaps the best way to be proactive against internet trolls is to simply ignore them. As a creator, you’re not going to please 100% of the people 100% of the time. Some people are going to hate your work regardless of what you do.
It’s easier to just learn the difference between a true critic and someone looking for attention.
Let those who appreciate your work drive you to success. After all, isn’t that who you’re creating content for in the first place? It’s your target audience you want to resonate with, not the trolls.
I know it’s difficult to address the problem when you have a profuse number of trolling sources, but you need to keep a cool head.
Just remember that most of those trolls are psychopaths…would you have coffee with a psychopath? Well, in reality you probably do. You never know who is doing what behind closed doors.
But you get my point.
Memes, sayings, quotes and more can all have a degree of trolling content. Before you react to statements whether they’re in a picture or text, discover the truth for yourself.
There’s a running competition among my friends to prove me wrong. That’s because I research nearly every fact before opening my mouth. Sometimes I am wrong, and I admit when I am. But it’s rare simply because I don’t take “facts” at face value.
I am always the skeptic until I see actual evidence from an authoritative source, such as actual scientific papers. Which is why meme bots don’t influence me. And in today’s world, not even photographs are concrete enough as evidence.
Understand and Pity the Social Media Trolls
Personally, I pity the social media trolls. They live a superficial life behind a computer or smartphone screen thinking they are loved by many. It must be a sad life to be recognized for the scum they are.
So before you react to a comment from someone who has nothing better to do with his or her life, realize just who the better person truly is. You don’t need to write a blog post calling out a troll or create a video response because some YouTuber doesn’t agree with you and is trying to poke your emotions.
Move on and pity the troll as well as his or her audience.
Avoid the Drama of Social Media Trolling
The only thing that comes out of social media trolling is drama. And it’s the kind of drama you can live without. Don’t give these poor individuals the attention nor the fuel they need to keep going. Be professional in your creations and rise above those who want nothing more than to bring you down.