Trolling is an unfortunate reality that anyone who spends any time online will encounter. A troll is a natural antagonist who will try to bait, confuse, and taunt a target for no reason beyond their own amusement. Many social media campaigns for example eventually turn up multiple trolls, who may work in tandem to discredit the campaign. Generally many of them are young or uneducated and will stop at nothing to damage or humiliate their target. They also now use many different strategies in order to bait people into responding to them, and because they have a lot of free time and are fairly numerous they can usually find a way that is effective.
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Do Not Bait The Troll
One of the primary tenets of many online communities is "do not bait the troll." This means that many communities believe that to avoid trolls and trolling, the best method is to simply ignore them until they go away. Trolls thrive on attention, specifically negative attention. As long as you engage a troll in dialogue they will continue to respond, even if they are losing, because they are desperate to get the last word in. Regardless of your level of professionalism, any marketer will eventually make a mistake and the troll will pounce upon their slip. This is why it’s usually best not to engage. Posts by trolls can be immediately deleted or otherwise hidden, but it’s important for your moderators to be able to recognise the difference between trolling and legitimate concerns. Often if the trolls find they are being ignored, they will move on to the next website.
Hire An Expert
If you absolutely need to respond to allegations that a troll is raising you need to find an expert. Trolls are usually extremely knowledgeable in the internet community, which includes internet culture. This means that they connect easily to the generation that has the most disposable income. While this may not at first seem imposing, it’s in fact very dangerous. Trolls can find a way to connect to the community in ways that traditionally trained marketers may not be able to. This is why it’s important to find someone who is entrenched in the internet community to advise you on the responses that you make to trolls, rather than to attempt to respond in an ordinary and logical manner. Attempts to respond without properly understanding the culture can lead to a company seeming stodgy and uninformed in many unanticipated ways.
If your campaign is suffering strongly under the influence of trolls it may be necessary to reduce your exposure for a moment. This can be ensured by temporarily engaging more stringent communicative methods such as moderator control over posts. This is usually not a long term strategy because it requires too many hours of work, but it is very effective in the short term because trolls tend to work in groups and have extremely short attention spans. If you find yourself temporarily under fire it can be a useful strategy to buckle down, secure your website and wait for the worst of it to pass. After the issues seem largely resolved you can return to business as usual. Most trolls will lose their steam fairly quickly, and blocking has the added benefit of never letting their viewpoints be archived on the internet at all.
Jonathan Gordon is an enthusiastic blogger who writes for a variety of websites, including a number of employment law solicitors.