Trolls can be nasty little twerps, can’t they!
Something that often stops incredible people in their tracks and blocks them from allowing themselves to be seen is the fear of being trolled.
You know, I’d love to tell you it won’t happen, but it probably will.
The good news is that you can prepare for it so that when they do inevitably pop up waving their mean- spirited, unpleasantry remarks in your face, you know how to deal with it.
First of all, ask yourself this – are they really trolling you or are they sharing an opinion you don’t like?
Somebody commenting on your post that they don’t agree with your post and explaining why, isn’t trolling, even if they are doing so in a way that you would find rude. However, if they get personal or try to destroy your reputation, that then crosses into troll territory.
Most people will tell you to “just ignore them”, but anyone who has experienced the wrath of an angry troll will know that it’s not always as simple as that.
The way of dealing with them in the most effective way, is to be assessed on a case to case basis. Sometimes, you have to defend yourself to protect your reputation and bring it to a halt before it gets out of hand and sometimes, the old block and ignore technique is the way to go.
So, how do you work out what to do for the best?
If it’s somebody trying to be funny and is obviously just being a bit of a cockalorum, they are unlikely to damage your reputation. People can clearly see what they’re doing, so it’s safe to ignore, delete and block or even have some fun with them (stay classy) if you feel that way inclined.
If someone is claiming you’re a scammer or are making some sort of accusation, don’t ignore it but publicly ask them why they are making such claims and calmly explain why it’s not true, providing evidence where you can.
Sometimes, you’ll just get a comment simply saying ‘scam’. If you comment asking them why they are making that claim, quite often you’ll find that they backtrack as soon as they remember that they are actually dealing with a real - life human.
Which brings me to another point. Not all trolls are horrible, little weasels. Some are decent humans who truly believe that they are doing the right thing. I had a situation not long ago where a client was at the heart of a troll attack. She was full of emotion and wanted to hide away, which is perfectly understandable but to stop them, she needed to be brave and to face up to the accusations.
I helped her to deal with the people behind it and it turned out to be a huge misunderstanding – they genuinely thought my client had ripped someone off and after she had an open conversation with the head troll, he realised he was in the wrong, deleted all of the comments left on her profile by himself and his cronies and he even apologised!
On the other hand, there could be somebody, or a group of people who are hell-bent on tearing you down and believe me, I’ve been the target of these critters. I know all too well how vicious they can be.
These are the ones who are plastering lies all over social media, they jump on everything you do and are waiting to drag your name through the dirt, they may even be contacting people on a 1:1 basis, setting up fake profiles and holding events disguising themselves as helpful members of society who are warning people against you because they care. These are the dangerous ones as they are threatening your reputation and your livelihood.
Coming under attack by these people is scary and confusing. Depending on your personality, you may feel like:
- Hiding away – don't do this or your reputation is at stake
- Attacking them back – don't do this or you’ll hurt your reputation by stooping down to their level. You're also giving them exactly what they want
- Freezing completely – completely natural for this to happen but the faster you snap yourself out of it, the faster it’ll be over
The best way of dealing with a situation like this is by doing something that may feel like it’s going against your instinct.
You shine a light on it.
You stand strong and you show the world what is happening. You calmly state your truth providing evidence wherever you can and you do so with integrity.
Don’t shy away from troll attacks but build yourself up to be a person who can handle them, meaning that you become free to reach more of your people and to create the impact that you are here for.