It was Social Media Kindness Day on the 9th of November. I cannot think of a more fitting day to bring up the topic of internet trolls and offer some practical advice for how to deal with them. Unfortunately trolls exist. It’s true! I am not talking about the cute, colorful, furry, sparkly, farty type! In fact, the real trolls resemble the big, gooey, hairy, smelly, gobby, Harry Potter-esque type, at least in behavior.
Unfortunately, we’ve all had the unpleasant experience of being trolled on social media. A troll may take advantage of someone else’s post to promote themselves or their product in a self serving way. A troll may also be someone who tries to provoke arguments with often-times rude or controversial comments. Or someone who sends sexually explicit or unwanted advances. It is NEVER, repeat NEVER appropriate on a social channel (unless on Jdate or Tinder) to proposition someone, comment on how they look or make overt sexual references.
Here is just one example from someone who spammed someone else’s post with their own self-promotion. Someone from Live-English.net posted about her English training workshops, and someone trolled it, trying to sell the exact same service on the back of a competitors post. YUCK!
On what planet is it morally or ethically acceptable behavior to solicit business on the back of someone else’s completely legitimate post about their business? Who on earth would trust a person who does something like this with the services they provide? What “lucky-dip” school of dumb-arse business and marketing did this person attend where they are taught that, “hey, I do that too, let me just comment here that people should trust me to do it better, oh and I will sweeten the deal with a walk by the creek and some tea.” is a good marketing or sales strategy. MORON ALERT!
How about this example… Where a stranger sent an unsolicited message on LinkedIn and signed it “LOVE”.
So what do you do if you have been trolled on social Media? Here are a few steps you can follow:
- DO NOT BLOCK/HIDE the person. On some channels (particularly a business profile on Linkedin) all you are doing is not seeing this person’s comments and posts anymore, but they may still be able to comment in future or if they have in the past, the comments will still show to everyone else but you.
- REPORT THEM. Click on the 3 … next to their comment and report them to the channel. Likely if they have done this before and you are not the only person to report them, their profile could be temporarily or permanently blocked. This would be the best result. Also it is likely that someone or a bot will review why you are reporting them for spam and they will see what they have done, and then block them, even if no-one else has reported them.
- DISCONNECT FROM THEM. As you can see from the English Net post, the original poster was a 1st connection of this person. You do not want to be connected to morally questionable people, and if you are no longer a 1st connection, they will be less likely to see and engage with your posts. You can do this by going to your Network > Clicking on Connections in the top left corner > Clicking on the 3 … to the right of the person you want to disconnect from, and select remove connection.
- DO NOT engage with this person. They are either there to goad you or they don’t care about you and your ethics, so engaging them only draws attention to them and feeds into their narcissistic tendencies.
- DO NOT post publicly about this person or name and shame them anywhere. In most countries this is an offense punishable by law and just brings you down to their level. You need to take the moral high ground.
- KEEP on pushing and promoting yourself, if you do it right, you win and the trolls won’t!
I hope that this has been helpful. If you need help with other social media dilemmas or have any questions, reach out and ask – that’s why ZoecialMedia is here.