There are times when I sit in front of my computer screen and wonder why I write. I wonder why I feel the need to share what I think, and why I feel others should read it. When I started writing, I knew that it wasn’t a one way street, especially on the blogging and social media platforms. I knew there would be feedback in the form of comments, retweets and shares. I also know that they would be mostly positive, and I was also very aware and sensitive to those people who would feel the need to provoke, bash and otherwise try to get me to “feel some type of way” as my stepdaughter would say (she’s so funny).
Knowing that equation, I wrote anyway. Granted at the time, I didn’t know there was a name for the negative side of feedback received on the internet. My friends, I introduce to you, the Internet troll.
What are Internet Trolls?
Much like the fictitious characters they are meant to represent, Internet Trolls lurk and wait for their shining moment to comment on something expressed without first-hand knowledge of the writer, or even with the goal of trying to illicit constructive engagement. Usually they use bad grammar, ALL CAPS, or tend to grand stand. No matter how kind and charitable your response, the Internet Troll will always, always find a perceived loophole in a vain attempt to make you, dear writer, second guess your intentions. They swim in a sea of right, and no matter what you say, they will call you a salmon (get it? They swim upstream?).
Don’t fall prey to it!
What can I do about Internet Trolls?
- Moderate Comments. If you’re on Blogger, don’t use Captcha, please. That’s annoying. Do moderate comments. This means, that whenever you receive a comment, you have the option to publish, delete or send to spam.
- Block their email address (if you’re on WordPress) from commenting. On the Blogger platform, there’s a neat little bookmark for Chrome appropriately named Nuke Comments. This little tool will delete the commenter and block the user, in two clicks.
- Block the IP address. When you receive a comment, there is an IP address associated with the email address, copy and paste right into your Blacklist (on WordPress)
- Block them on Social Media. If you’re blog is like mine, you have social media buttons located in a few places, because you genuinely want to connect with your readers. If you find an Internet Troll lurking, search for them on those social media platforms and block them there too. The Internet is free, yes, but your writing space is your house, and you can keep it clean.
- Use a Virtual Punching Bag. Should you get a comment or message that really upsets you, head over to a word processing program, like Word, or Notepad and copy the comment. I know, just bear with me. Copy the comment, and then, write the response you wish you could. I will even go so far as to say you can swear there. Why? Because after you get it all out, you’re going to delete it. Then get back to your happy place. Writing, reading, mothering, you know, being you.
- Delete it. Just because an Internet Troll comments, doesn’t mean it has to stay in your queue. There’s help available in the form of the delete button. Use that to your hearts content! Out of sight, out of mind, I always say.
- Pray for them. I’m Catholic. It’s just what I do. A bead for every Internet Troll. If you feel more comfortable putting it out into the universe, do that. If Karma is your cuppa, then do something nice for someone else and offer that as your token, on the side of paying it forward.
How do I keep from becoming an Internet Troll?
Focus on your writing, or passion and let the Internet Trolls move on. They eventually will, and if you’re writing honest and compassionate stuff, they may, no, they will be back. Probably because they subscribe to your blog and follow anything you do. They just can’t help themselves. Because what the Internet Troll eats for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Jealousy. They snack on the color green. Sad, isn’t it?
There, I said it.
And I am still eating a sandwich.
You’re turn. Is there another way to avoid the Internet Troll? Share them here so we can all benefit.