For me the internet has been a blessing and a curse. In my previous article (found above), you can see the nightmares that I’ve endured being naïve about my internet activity. From dating, to business to every day life; the internet is like riding down the Amazon river. It’s beautiful but there are a lot of things around you that can hurt you. One of the dangers are the internet Trolls. These trolls can hover around the internet like Dementors in the Harry Potter series hovering overhead just waiting to be offended or angered.
What a Troll IS and ISN’T:
Society has changed a lot. People in general are much less into facts or what is really happening. Some people in general are much more insecure as well. They are into their own biases and want to be around those that feed that bias. They don’t want to debate; they want to hear what they want to hear and they want to be followed. That’s why people watch certain news channels. Preaching to the choir.
Television producers have seen how the new generation LOVES drama. Reality shows; even though they are staged (I know some reality show participants and all of them say this) some people treat them like they are fact. Will anyone watch a show of kind people loving one another? No way. They want fighting, arrogance, selfishness, yelling and insanity. Usually the nastiest people are the most popular. Well, that is the desire of an internet troll; to create drama and feed off of it.
A troll is someone that goes onto forums or social media posts and likes to stir it up anyway they can. Most go way off topic and they try to entice others to challenge them. They want chaos, anger, dramatics and any other kind of conflict. They are outraged at pretty much everything people say, and they have the victim mentality. They want to ruin reputations and are often wrong but never in doubt.
Not everyone is a troll. Some call people a troll if they don’t agree with them. That’s NOT a troll. If someone brings up facts or a reason why they disagree with a person without saying something offensive, they are not trolling. They are debating and disagreeing. There is a huge difference. Some people just like the sound of their own voice and spew nonsense and then get mad when people call them out on it. They are not being trolled.
I experience this on Youtube all the time. Some of the insane conspiracy theory videos from people like Alex Jones and others are scary. Like the crazy idea that all of these mass shootings are staged and faked. Or that lizards and shape shifters are living among us and they are marrying regular people to become a part of our society to take it over. Some of you are shaking your head and smiling but what’s not funny is that they have THOUSANDS of followers, and they believe these are facts. Some will even post photos saying here is the person that supposedly died in a mass shooting and they are now married with kids so the shooting was fake.
I went on one of the videos forums and all I asked is where is the proof? I said, “so all of these families are acting and not really grieving? All of these funerals are fake?”
OMG you would have thought I killed puppies. Literally dozens of people started attacking me. They ripped me to shreds, found my email and began to pummel me with “proof”. I literally had to block several dozen people. In this case I was not being a troll. I wanted to know why they thought like they did. Instead of sending real facts, they attacked me. Insecure people tend to do that.
How to Handle Facebook Trolls:
Facebook is used more by middle aged people than the younger generation. It’s a different type of animal. When I go on Facebook I know I’m going to see the same posts from the same people pretty much every day. The political posts will be extremely close minded and based mostly on biased opinion. Even though some adults are still learning and evolving like you should, for the most part a middle aged person is NOT going to change their mind on things. Thus it’s pointless debating them. If the person is open minded and will think about things, then it’s fun to debate. For the most part though, I try to avoid political comments all together. It’s also sad to like people and then find out how extreme and bad their points of views are on politics or society.
To combat trolls, personally I would stay away from political comment unless you like wars. Trolls love political posts and you will almost for sure be attacked. If you are, just stop commenting. If they email you or try to egg you on, just ignore or even block them. If you are still going to post, then remember that just because someone disagrees doesn’t mean they are attacking you.
I remember one lady from Texas (always Texas) started emailing me on Facebook every morning telling me what posts she liked and didn’t like. She would also leave comments in my posts. She then started to demand I take some of my posts down or she’d report me to Facebook. Huh? She was a friend’s mom so I didn’t want to block her but I finally had to. She once demanded I take a dog’s photo down because a dog had once attacked her cat and that it was inappropriate.
Another important part is some employers SCOUR Facebook to see comments on their employees. I know many HR people and don’t think for a second that this isn’t happening. I know one guy that was flat out told that his sexual posts on Facebook were the reasons he didn’t get a job. Don’t be naïve.
How to Handle Twitter Trolls:
Twitter is fun. It is more hip and used by the younger generation a lot. Usually half of the top 10 trends on Twitter are based on young people’s topics.
That being said, you have to be careful on Twitter. Before you get the hang of Twitter, start slow. Be positive in your comments and don’t be too confrontational. If someone says something really stupid or crazy, it’s not a rule that you have to respond. People with big ego’s or who love to give their opinion all the time can struggle on Twitter.
Remember trolls want to get a rise out of you; they want you to get mad. The key to Twitter? NEVER get mad. I never tweet something when I’m really emotional or angry. I remember posting something on a kid that had cancer. A troll literally started laughing saying one less ^^^%%. The child was an American but they were of Mexican descent. All of a sudden the troll flooded my post with anti-Hispanic tweets that were extremely racist while calling himself a patriot. I didn’t battle him. I said, get some help; good luck to you; and in 30 seconds I blocked him. He got my message and now he can never see or react to my posts. No 20 minute battle; no anger; no stress. Just get some help and that’s it. So if a troll tries to hijack your post, don’t argue; don’t stress; and don’t battle! JUST BLOCK.
How to Handle Sexual Trolls:
This is a tough one because so many young women are addicted to the attention they get from strangers when they post photos of themselves or “selfies”. I know one middle aged woman who is really pretty and she posts photos of herself just about every post. Not all attention is good.
Read the news and you will see some of the most horrendous things done to young women these days. It’s scary how perverted so many people are, especially young men. Sexual assault is a huge problem in our country and so is sexual trolling. There have been many deaths and assaults where the first meeting was on social media.
My friend had his college aged daughter do a video for his business explaining an accounting program that she had set up for him. They put it on Youtube because other companies had asked her to, because she really explained it well. Bad idea. His daughter isn’t a vixen, but she’s cute and did the pervs come out. By the time they handled the problem, he counted over 189 sexual comments written by men on her video; 99% young men. They didn’t care about this program, the just saw a cute girl. Some were EXTREMELY vulgar.
He asked me what to do. I said turn in the real sick posters to Youtube and block the comments sections. People can still see the video and you don’t have to worry about all of the nasty comments below. If it’s on Instagram, do the same thing. Block, Block and Block. Don’t be afraid to turn people into the site either if they are very aggressive. It’s unacceptable to be that nasty. That’s why I tell some young women to be more secure in yourself as a person in real life, and don’t rely on pervert strangers liking your looks for your confidence.
How to Handle a Super Troll:
I got a super troll on my Twitter account last year that wouldn’t let up. He trolled many of my posts. I would block him and then he’d make another account. He finally made an account that said @Ihatejimjax. Now to be honest I think it’s kind of funny but what wasn’t funny is that his 36 followers were being fueled by him. The lies that were spread were of legend. He then asked for the followers to find out where I lived. That was it. I contacted Twitter; gave them all his accounts, and tweets and they deleted his URL from twitter and closed all of his accounts.
If you take care of trolls early, then you will have little issues with them. Blocking or ignoring are your best tools. Debating is fine but fighting with people that just want turmoil and drama is counter productive and a waste of time. Don’t be a victim; be pro active and if people are harassing you, then erase them from your social media life. If you follow this advice, worrying about trolls will be a thing of the past.