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How to turn someone trolling you into a positive experience

Updated March 14, 2016
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How to Deal with Trolls

Tim Brown

Tim Brown is the owner of Hook Agency, an SEO and Web Design company focused primarily on driving traffic and leads for small businesses, roofers and construction companies.

It seems that whether someone is being negative on Twitter or really just being a troll of easy to let it affect one’s day. Because I have strong opinions and share them on social media and my blog I find that I attract these types of people occasionally. How do I turn this into a positive experience?

One of the biggest things you can do is just to figure out why what you said is eliciting such a strong response from this individual, and factor that in as something about human psychology that you didn’t understand before and now are getting glimpse into. The tidbit about human psychology I’m referring to is that for some seemingly inexplicable reason some humans mutate into – internet trolls. Not all trolls live in their mom’s basement or mentally ill but they are usually:

  • Bored
  • Looking for attention


So you’ve been publicly shamed – the book

I recently finished an amazing book ‘So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed’ by Jon Ronson, and he explains his introduction to the topic was that someone created a twitter account like his. The twitter account mimicked his tweets in a way, touted that it was him and then also was tweeting lewd things as well. He confronted the people that created it – intelligent people in the educational field who seemed to think it was all a grand experiment – they called it an ‘info-morph’ and it was a type of bot. He finally got the ‘info-morph’ taken down but it kickstarted his journey studying people that had been ‘trolled’ and how they dealt with it.

Many people that get this kind of high-level shaming in the book could be said to have deserved it – for instance the woman who tweeted ‘going to africa, hope I don’t get aids, just kidding I’m white.’ But the problem comes when such a large number of people ridicule and in such force that the punishment seems far outside what would be considered just. In the end the book says the people that survive a public shaming the best:

  • People whose persona seems somewhat well integrated with the possible oversight, and it’s much harder for people who have jobs or persona’s that seem to be strongly contrasting with the issue. The individual with the aids comment was a P.R. professional.
  • People who own it totally – they don’t try to hide from their actions, posture or intellectualize.
  • People who can integrate the new painful elements of the negative feedback from the world, who can work it into a positive narrative of their life and their place in the world.

How to Deal with Trolls

But what about a good old fashion troll

The strange thing about trolling is that it happens without really doing anything crazy wrong. People just tweet mean things at you, without being constructive, or leave YouTube comments in some kind of anonymous hateful under-current that we rarely see on a day to day basis in person.

Avoid them like the plague: You don’t have to put up a long conversation with people who aren’t constructive. Block IP Addresses, block twitter accounts, let it go.

Don’t let them flatter you: Just because you’ve got a live one – someone that interacts with you, doesn’t mean they are adding value to the conversation. If there are a number of non-constructive negative comments that’s grounds for goodbye.

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Don’t feed them: Your life shouldn’t be a conversation spent around defending yourself, and whenever people start to put out seemingly over the top criticism, it usually means they are a hungry troll (or you did something actually bad, in which case repent.)

Figure out what you want to learn from the situation: It might be – that blocking trolls is fun. Try it.

Share the experience with a friend: You can make this into a positive like sharing about your experience with others talking about how it affects you.

Write out what you can learn from it: You can get some perspective about how you will do things differently or the same now that you’ve had this experience. Writing clarifies things and helps you see it from a higher level.

Move on: The strange thing is, if you feed a troll it makes you tired and crabby because they are insatiable. If you can avoid doing that – and try to do something positive for someone around you instead of dealing with negative internet people, you’re day will be better for it.

James Altucher said it best “I’ve seen it in action repeatedly: no matter who you are, no matter what you do, no matter who your audience is: 30 percent will love it, 30 percent will hate it, and 30 percent won’t care. Stick with the people who love you and don’t spend a single second on the rest. Life will be better that way.”


Watch this quick video to see how savvy businesses save time and hook better leads:

30% will hate it. Stick with the people who love you and don’t spend a second on the rest Click To Tweet

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Tim Brown

Tim Brown is the owner of Hook Agency, an SEO and Web Design company focused primarily on driving traffic and leads for small businesses, roofers and construction companies.

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