Ugh. Have you ever been trolled on your blog? I don’t mean the odd negative comment, but rather people being abusive or systematically going after you, to cause you anguish. Trolling differs from negative comments in terms of malice and intent. A negative commenter probably just wants to be heard and state their point of view. A troll is more worried about hurting you than being heard.
While negative comments can definitely be upsetting and hurt our feelings, trolling takes this upset and hurt to a whole new level where nothing is off-limits and the intent is to cause the blogger as much distress as possible.
A few years ago, I was trolled by someone (I think I know who it is!) pretty mercilessly. They left nasty comments on my blog saying they were glad my dog died, that I was an idiot, that I was untalented. When I started deleting those, they began emailing me instead (giving themselves away in the process, in their quest to get under my skin).
At the time, it really upset me. I felt I was not going to be able to continue blogging, I lost confidence for a while, censored myself, lost my way. But in time I came to realise it wasn’t about me, and I slowly gained strength and found the mettle to keep going. It was so hard! It took over a year to feel okay about blogging again, after such relentless pursuit.
I must admit, my stomach still hurts when I check my comments, but working on other websites where the readership is sometimes quite scathing has helped me to toughen up a bit.
When I read about the effect trolls and snark website GOMI has on bloggers like Raising Master Max and Edenland, I feel really sad about some quarters of our blogging community. Without a doubt, those are fellow bloggers snarking/trolling on those gals. It’s such a terrible shame and I think that kind of behaviour rolled in when people started making money from their blogs.
As you might know, Eden and Cherie (who blog at the blogs mentioned above) are not making money/a lot of money from their blogs, but other bloggers are and the conversations and reactions to blogging changed when that started in earnest in Australia. I certainly don’t blame the monetisers for this shift, rather its the bloggers sitting on the sidelines watching them with contempt (or feeling jealous of their perceived success) that are fuelling this negative fire.
But I digress, I was going to tell you how to deal with trolls. Here’s exactly what you should do:
1. consider if the person is a troll, or just someone with a differing point of view
2. if it’s the former – delete the comment and go and eat a really yummy thing and watch an episode of Gilmore Girls
3. if it’s the latter – acknowledge their comment and thank them. Then go and eat a really yummy thing and watch an episode of Gilmore Girls.
4. if they keep popping up – repeat the appropriate steps above – you can also try the mantra ‘it’s not me, it’s them’ or ‘hell is other people’. That can help.
5. know that it happens to the best of us, that it hurts, that it’s okay to feel really sad about it and that it can sometimes signal the need to get offline and into the smoochy arms of the real life people you love for a while.
Have you ever dealt with a troll? Or seen one in action?