Don’t Feed the Internet Troll

5 Ways To Guarantee Your Internet Troll Status On the Web

 

Internet trolls exist for one of two reasons.

One, they’re getting paid.

Or two, they’re people with far too much time on their hands.

Despite the reason, there’s one fact that remains: they do exist and their numbers are growing.

Image from Today Online

Being an Internet troll is perhaps the easiest way to lose followers, get blocked on a site, or have your user name and/or blog shut down completely.

So why do people do it?

Well, as mentioned above there are usually two different types of trolls. The one’s who are making money and the one’s who are doing it to fulfill some void they feel in their life. The first make money because they generate views and views translate to advertisers on their sites. Is this a reason to become an Internet troll? For some. While most people want to avoid tarnishing their good name and platform on the Internet, others are sold on the idea of getting followers by any means possible. Maybe it’s not the most out of the question idea for some people, but for others it’s an absolute no.

The second are the most common and are people (like you!) who probably shouldn’t have control of a computer. They’re the people who say whatever comes to mind and don’t seem to have an off switch. They’re the ones who refuse to back down from an argument, even if all signs point to the fact that they’re wrong or in a losing situation. These people are not only the most prevalent, but they don’t actually know that what they’re doing is wrong.

Where Can You Find These Trolls?

Internet trolls are present on the Internet and can be found lurking in nearly every nook and cranny of the web.

The most common places to find Internet trolls:

• Comments
• Forums
• Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, ect…
• Blogs
• Political articles
• Religious articles

I’m not going to teach you explicit directions on how to be a troll as a form of Internet marketing. Though I will say that there are plenty of articles that go into detail about how to become a successful troll. I will, however, tell you what trolls do in the hopes, dear blogger, that you will not fall prey to becoming one without your knowledge.

internet troll infographic

Image from Internet Marketing Ninjas

1. You Enjoy Excessive and Combative Commenting

Part of being a troll, is not knowing when to stop. If you’re wondering whether or not you’ve fallen into this easy pitfall, then ask yourself the following questions:

• Do you respond to comments without reason?

• Do you only comment to elicit a response from someone else?

• Do your comments seem pointless and have no real meaning behind them or don’t propel the comment thread forward in an insightful way?

How’d you do? If you answered yes to any or all of these questions then it may be worth reconsidering how you’re handling things on the Internet. Responding to comments for no reason or only for the sake of getting them to respond is a form of control that trolls use. It’s a way to try and manipulate the situation into continuing so that you have a form of entertainment for the time being. For those trying to move away from trolling habits, consider re-reading your comments before you hit “post”. Ask yourself the above questions and see if you’re still answering yes to them. If not, then go ahead and post your comment. If yes, then consider rewriting your comment to better suit the conversation thread, making sure that you add something to the conversation.

2. You Create Fake Profiles

If I asked you why you think most people create fake profiles, I’d be willing to bet that you’d think it was to escape the reality of being who they are. You wouldn’t be wrong of course, if anything MTV’s Catfish has taught as that much, but you wouldn’t be 100% correct either. People create fake profiles to protect their identity, allowing themselves to freely make comments that they might not otherwise have the nerve to say. If you find yourself making fake profiles for the sake of protecting your identity for less than valiant reasons then you have the gone the route of the troll, my friend. Look at your fake profiles and examine the way that you utilize them. Is it really to protect your identity for noble reasons? Or is to protect your identity and ensure that you’re able to leave mean and cruel comments without fear of retribution. If you’re concerned about being a troll, it might be a good idea to take down your fake profiles and continue life on the Internet as yourself.

3. You Create Or Fuel Controversy

Whether you’re making YouTube videos, posting on Facebook, or making crude Instagram posts, hateful posts do not a supportive blogger make. Making posts that criticize or outcast specific groups, individuals, religions, or politics with only the hope of igniting fire is not being a good blogger. On the contrary, it makes you a troll, and a mean one at that. A famous (and current) example of this is Nicole Arbour’s viral YouTube video that fat shames obese people. In her video she criticizes everything about the obese lifestyle from the way that they walk to the way that they smell. Arbour is the prime example of a troll. Not only did her vlog create so much controversy that it was pulled within minutes of being posted, it was just plain cruel. However, her post created so much controversy that celebrities called her out, newsstands wrote articles about her, and TV stars discussed her comments to no end. Her controversial take on overweight people worked to further her blog and persona, but at what cost? Don’t find yourself losing integrity to gain followers.

internet troll infographic

Image from Memolition.com

4. You Criticize But Don’t Critique

Think of how much time you spent working on your latest blog post. Consider how much time you spent editing and making your blog perfect before hitting the post button and setting it free into the blogosphere. Now think about how you’d feel to have some one criticize everything from the way you wrote, to the topic you wrote about, to the image choice that you picked. How does it feel? I’m guessing not great. In high school you’re taught the difference between criticizing and critiquing. Criticizing is done to lift yourself up, while critiquing is done to elevate the work of the other person involved. If you spend time leaving harsh comments on posts about how terrible they are or how the blogger doesn’t know how to write, then you’re being a troll. If you’re doing so unintentionally then there’s still hope for you! Take a look at what you’re writing. Is the comment going to help better the piece in any way? If the answer is no, then edit it until it serves a purpose for the writer.

Example:

 

Don’t: Your post doesn’t make sense. There’s no way that the cone heads could have existed. I thought you were supposed to be writing fact, not science fiction?

Do: I appreciate your article and want to thank you for sharing it. Though I’m not sure if I misinterpreted what you’re saying, but I’m not sure that the cone heads could have existed. This article here does a good job of explaining how cone heads would not have been able to house a realistic sized brain and therefore could not have been around before us.

Image from Adweek.com

5. You Don’t Back Down

When you leave comments and someone points out that you’re wrong about something how quickly do you back down? If the answer is not at all then you are probably causing more trouble than is necessary. Bloggers who comment and refuse to stop are just searching for a way to keep themselves entertained. Instead, the next time you feel like you’re getting sucked into an argument online, reconsider your post. Go outside if you have to or head out for a coffee. Do whatever you can to step away from the computer and keep your comments to yourself. Refer back to tip #1 if you feel that you must comment, and check whether or not your comment is moving the thread forward in a positive way, or only filler to keep the thread going.

What tips do you have to avoid becoming an Internet troll?

What advice do you have for your fellow bloggers?