How to Handle Trolls and Haters Online | The Dark Side of Internet
Trolls and haters lurk in the depths of social media networks and their comments and actions can lead to a variety of emotions including anger, annoyance, frustration, and even hurt feelings.
There is a distinction between these two terms that should be clarified. Trolls are often spam artists and input comments to social media posts that are often not even related to the topic at hand. Haters are those who are out to insult the work of other people and inflict their hatred in social communities and forums among other places.
Critics Vs. Haters
However, someone disagreeing with you or your online content (even if they are loud and vocal about their differences) cannot be called a Troll or a Hater.
In a civilized society, ideas are discussed, not individuals. The simple rule here is to stick to the “issue at hand” and refrain from making any personal attacks. In summary: critics are not haters.
For example, if someone has an opposing viewpoint than yours and comments or questions on your blog, YouTube videos or social media posts, you cannot (and should not) label such a person as a troll or a hater. Because labeling someone with such derogatory term is also a form of attack. That’s not good, right! Do we all agree here?
Okay, cool. But we are not here to talk about who is a troll or not. We are here to talk about how to protect ourselves from malicious haters and stupid trolls freely roaming out there in the wild west of internet.
The various ways that trolls and haters represent themselves online were explored in an excellent way in an earlier civinomics blog post.Â The author described the ways that haters represented themselves in a list.
1. They always find fault and focus on the negative
2. They express themselves harshly and dismissively
3. They often characterize what others say in broad terms presenting a straw man argument which they then cut to shreds
4. They donâ€™t acknowledge information to the contrary, they do not give thanks when given what they want
5. They are never satisfied
Trolls were described as people who â€œoutrage and then tease the gullible into trying to save them, argue with them, prove them wrong, or whatever.â€ Their representations were enumerated in the following list:
1. They get personal
2. They insult and attack and provide a direct emotional response
3. They escalate to keep the fun going
4. They will never stop unless something more fun occupies their attention
Keep Calm and Be a Flower
There are different methods that can be implemented to reduce the influence of the haters and trolls that infect your social media channels, post reviews about your writing, or affect your personal life.
A freelance writer, Andrew Hutchinson, wrote an article, â€œBullies, Trolls, and Haters: Dealing with Negativity on Social Mediaâ€ on LinkedIn that explored methods for resolving issues that arise with these types of individuals. These methods included:
1. Listen to all feedback
a. Analyze what has been said about you and your writing, absorb it, and take from it any useful advice.
2. Seek to improve what you can (in line with your mission):
a. Know what it is that you were trying to accomplish with your writing and be confident if you know that you achieved your goal with your writing
3. Accept that you can’t please everyone:
a. Not everyone will like what you produce and thought it may be difficult, it is important to accept it, live with what they said, and try to move on
b. If you understand the path you’re on and what you need to do to achieve your goals, you’ll be more resilient and able to accept the opinions of other individuals
Mr. Hutchinson provides good insight into being empathetic towards individuals who dislike or insult your work. He says in his article,
Be empathetic – everyone has issues in their life, complications that affect them in ways you can’t possibly know or understand. More often than not, negativity is not about you, keep that in mind and respond with kindness where possible. But also know that some minds can’t be changed. Sometimes you’re better to cultivate the community you have than expend effort on the resolution you’re never going to achieve.
Methods of Positivity
Some propose that the best way to handle trolls and haters is to take a step back and be polite when addressing these people. You should never stoop to their level. Do not confront them but instead respond in a way that shows that you have understood their message and will resolve to address the issues they may have with you or your writing.
Haters and trolls may impact your professional life as well. I have had coworkers that have belittled me and insulted my intellectual abilities and although their words and actions did hurt (in the beginning) I was eventually able to move on and realize that perhaps these were not the types of people I needed to have in my life.
To some degree, we are responsible for who weÂ invite in our lives.Â I realized that I wanted to surround myself with positive individuals who know how to support me (or my work) and accept me for who I am. In any relationship (where two people know each other), mutual respect is not only healthy but crucial.
It can be very difficult when there are negative individuals in your life but it is important to remember that not everything they say about you is true. Try to be confident and rise above the criticisms and insults they hurl your way.
As it was mentioned previously, try to look deeper and find out where the hater’s or troll’s negativity is coming from and there might be issues that they may be coping with in their personal life.
One excellent quote by Jane Roberts that succinctly summarizes what your approach to handling haters and trolls should be is the following,
You should tell yourself frequently, I will only react to constructive suggestions.
This gives you positive ammunition against your own negative thoughts and those of others.
Negativity is an ugly fact of life that we all must cope with at some point in our lives. The key is to try to refrain from letting it impact you in such a way that it takes hold over how you live your life.
Life is too fleeting to let it overshadow the great things that you know that you are capable of accomplishing. I know from personal experience how words can affect you and have learned from others that you can’t let the haters and nay-sayers affect how you perceive yourself as an individual.
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