What to write to a social media troll

Have you ever been trolled on social media? If not, let me tell you it’s like being attacked by a swarm of millions of mosquitoes all intent on biting you, but not quite doing it – only having thousands of pathetic little nibbles.

How to handle trolls

Although humans aren’t known particularly as pack/herd animals, it’s funny how the opportunity to troll someone gathers enough vitriol-spitting monsters to make victims feel they’re not even safe enough to go put their garbage out at night.

Result? You see the swarm but don’t feel any bites. They swarm around you until your head is buzzing, but suddenly just when you feel you’re about to get devoured by thousands of nasty little insects, poof! They’re off swarming around their next victim, and then they disappear out of your life.

There is no reasoning with the trolls once they’re swarming

I had the most awful experience with internet trolls some time back when I happened to make a point on Facebook about the sad death of a woman cyclist who had collided with a truck in an English city, and died as a result.

My point was that bicycles and heavy downtown city traffic are incompatible and should be separated, mostly for the safety’s sake of the cyclists, but also to help prevent additional congestion in our unbelievably crowded and crammed city centre here.

Well, what a torrent of written bile that produced…

Within hours my Facebook post had received nearly 400 comments accusing me of being a bigot, a Nazi, and numerous other terms not suitable for a family audience. How dare I suggest that someone riding a bike in heavy traffic in a highly congested city centre shouldn’t have been there, as it wasn’t safe for her?

These people kept on oozing like blood from a deep arterial wound – for several hours.

They insulted me everywhere they could find me on social media. They found out my home address and threatened to visit and punish me. They posted vile comments on my Amazon author page (which once I explained to Amazon what they were about, Amazon kindly took down.)

One of their number, a certain Bernard Harrington-Vogt, even chose to leave me a one-star denigrating review on Google, which is still there to this day – unremovable, although my response to his frivolous and ill-considered bullsh*t is still there, too.

This is what I responded to his text:

“Response from the owner: Harrington-Vogt, if you have an issue with me about cycling, have the guts to contact me directly rather than insulting me in public.”

But what good does that do? (I’ve never heard from him, of course.) Should I simply have ignored Bernard and his putrid little friends and just carried on trying to drum some sense into these rabid cycling fanatics who believe the roads belong to them, no matter what, and aren’t prepared to discuss reasonable sharing of our crowded road network in England?

No. Reasonable doesn’t cut the mustard when you’re dealing with the mass hysteria of keyboard warriors

Although humans aren’t known particularly as pack/herd animals, it’s funny how the opportunity to troll someone gathers enough vitriol-spitting monsters to make victims feel they’re not even safe enough to go put their garbage out at night.

writing style fo eBooksWhere did I go wrong? I think the worst mistakes were as follows:

I tried to justify why I had said/written what I did: the trollers aren’t interested in discussing your views. They just want to be antipathetic.

I reacted to the cruel, evil and threatening insults I received by questioning them, but the perpetrators don’t do discussion: only aggression.

I refused to back down and withdraw my views, because I still believe they were right – for me – to this day. However I am very open to discussion provided it’s not introduced by some snotty silo-thinkers who aren’t prepared to talk in terms of the bigger picture.

What are the best things to do if you get trolled?

Sherri Gordon has written a very good, soothing and sympathetic article on Very Well Family.com about online trolling and cyberbullying. Some good advice there.

Also, Mary C. Long‘s article on Adweek goes into some very helpful advice, especially if your trolls have gone after your business.

Finally, many thanks to Wendy Alchemy who pointed out this article to me about the weird behaviour of internet trolls when , then TED’s social media editor, posted the content of Monica Levinsky’s TED talk in 2015 about the latter’s life and experiences in the White House.

To that I can only add the popular phrase “don’t feed the trolls.”

How would YOU handle an attack by trolls?

Or if it has happened to you, how did you handle it? Please share your views!

 

Comments

comments

Thoughts

  1. Marcus James Rowe says:

    Hi Suzan St Maur!

    My name is Marcus James Rowe, im a single 43 year old man with a severe physical disability that means i cant live a truly independent life in my flat with out depending on living with an Employed HealthCare Personal Assistant or P.A.

    A friend of mine this morning shared the link to this article of yours, as a manner of support going through my personal diffucult time im being faced with currently now. I cant duscuss the fine details of my case currently, untill ive served my Suspended 12 month non custodial sentence having to work with an Assinged Parole Officer as from today, being Tuesday the 21st of August 2018.

    But what i can say withouth comprimising my sentence ruling, is i too was cyber bullied because i defended a really good friend of mine from my local Chapel, who was being viciously verbally abused persistantly by the offender who prosecuted me, just for defending my good friemd on the Aniversary of her Baby Boys Birthday, had he survived.

Thoughts

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