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Stay Productive and Professional on Social Media: Don’t Feed the Trolls!

January 25, 2015 By John White | 14 Comments

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In Internet slang, a troll (/ˈtrl/, /ˈtrɒl/) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people,[1] by posting inflammatory,[2] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[3] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

Have you ever fed a troll? Well, I have, but I’m not going to ever do it again! I’ve let trolls almost ruin entire days, and even weekends. Not anymore!

A troll loves to get fed. They thrive on getting under people’s skin and making them angry. They ignore facts, and will not stop. You can never get the last word in with a troll. Nor can you ever win a debate and convince them that their stance is incorrect. So, why even bother? Exactly! Don’t feed the trolls and they will go elsewhere. There is nothing worse for a troll than being starved….aka ignored!

If they become overly obnoxious and rude, you can always block them! Most social sites have the ability to block people from being able to interact with you or see your posts in the future. Since becoming a publisher, I have become quite familiar with how to block someone on LinkedIn. For those that may not know how to do it:

  1. Go to the profile of the person you’d like to block.  Note: After you block someone, you will disappear from the Who’s Viewed Your Profile section of the person you blocked.
  2. Move your cursor over the down arrow next to the button in the top section of the member’s profile and select Block or report from the list.
  3. Check the box next to Block.
  4. Click Continue.
  5. On the next screen, click Agree to confirm.

Additionally, you can report abuse to LinkedIn by emailing:

Many people tell me they are afraid to post due to trolls and their negative comments. So, they choose to not even post. Don’t let trolls prevent you from posting and sharing your talents on social media. Stop feeding them. Starve them!

Not only are trolls annoying and offensive, they are huge productivity drains.  Think about it this way.  Every time you interact with a troll online, you are forfeiting an opportunity to engage with the potential customers or business contacts that have liked and commented on your post.

Trolls are looking for any opportunity to catch you at a weak moment, and cause public embarrassment to your personal brand.  They are waiting to pounce should you react with any signs of anger to their antics.  Don’t give them this opportunity.  Keep it professional when dealing with them, and make sure to take the high road.

Don’t feed them your time.

Don’t feed them your energy.

Don’t feed them your emotional well being.

They get NOTHING!!!

Join me in taking a stand against trolls and online bullying by ignoring their behavior, and taking away the satisfaction they get from making people angry! Got any good stories about starving trolls and putting them in their place? Share them in the comment section!

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About the Author: John White is the Social Media Marketing Director at Career Toolbox USA and Social Business Strategies, a proud dad, MBA candidate, digital enthusiast, marketing expert, and influential blogger.

Follow Me on Twitter: @juanblanco76 & @CareerToolboxUS & @SBSpartnersLLC

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Comments (14)

  1. Shenoy U.K. says:

    Very nice lesson on trolls and how to avoid them. Thank you John.

    1. John White says:

      Shenoy U.K: Thanks so much for commenting on my post. I really appreciate it.

  2. Debra Barkle says:

    Thank you for a highly needed article. This is terrific advice even if you go to websites that are allowed to post questions and answers. I wasted a good couple of days trying to awaken the editors of their nondenominational website as to how they were being completely biased toward a certain group. They continued to defend their website completely ignoring the fact that they had allowed several answers to be posted that completely slammed this certain group. After reading your article, I realize that I am wasting valuable time trying to educate people who refuse to be educated about certain things. Again, thank you!

    1. John White says:

      Debra: I am glad that you found value in my post. Trolls are cowards and we need to take a stand against bullying. Thank you very much for taking the time to read this post and for spreading awareness on this very important topic.

  3. Dan Cottone says:

    Excellent article! I too have wasted time on these people. No more.

  4. Leyton Collins says:

    I enjoyed this article. I also agree with you that most of the time the best approach is to say to myself “keep moving, don’t look back” when I encounter these on-line ‘accidents’. That said, I’ve sadly and personally witnessed things out in the world where the quote “For evil to flourish, it only requires good men to do nothing” (Simon Wiesenthal) is very applicable. Thus, for these latter sorts of cases I’ve learned how to troll trolls and how enjoyable it can be to push them completely over the shallow end of the gene pool, or as you noted ‘putting them in their place’. The enjoyable part being that it exposes them for who and what they really are so anyone who thinks they might be making sense actually thinks twice. The example Debra provided being a really good example. Her point was lost on the website owners; who knows how many others saw her comments and that was just enough for them to say to their selves “keep moving, don’t look back” rather than getting dragged into that site’s darkness.

    I don’t recommend just anyone does this. There are a lot of factors to consider first, and it took me years to figure them out. For anyone up for ‘the good fight’ though I suspect we’re doing our part to make one small part of the world a better place.

  5. James Hennings says:

    Hahahaha John you gave the professional attention whores a good name (excuse the term). I had one try to discredit me on one of my articles I published on LinkedIn. The guy completely ignored the comments of the users who were in agreement with what I wrote and appreciated it. I thanked him for his comment and proceeded to shoot holes through it one point at a time. Lucky for me he didn’t come back because I’m big on engagement. Since I wrote the post I would’ve felt obligated to say something and probably would have wasted energy feeding him. Great Post!

  6. Angel Rasper says:

    Hi John,

    I am a self employed business owner and on top of my personal responsibilities, I’m also a marketing contractor for several companies. I have helped several businesses, which I will keep anonymous due to the topic, get their online presence off the ground. In one case, I was working for an aviation company. One of my responsibilities was to build their Google following and of course for appearances to the public, it looked as if the gentlemen I was working for were the ones actually doing the work. So as you can imagine, because the company I was working for was engineers and airplane mechanics … it drew the trolls like crazy. At first I would just throw facts at them and then when I noticed that it only seemed to encouraged them to steer a different direction with their attach, It was then that I would reveal in a personal message, once I followed them with my own personal account, that I was a marketing contractor and that I was a woman. As crazy as this sounds … it did stop several of them from continuing the attacks. Almost as if they were embarrassed about their behavior. Seemed to me to be more of a revelation that this can be more about ego than anything. Please continue to take the stand against this. I personally consider this to be childish behavior and I have passed this great advice along. We need more people speaking out about it. Thanks John!

    1. James Hennings says:

      That was a very bold and professional move Angel. Following them with your personal account and telling them who you were could have had some crazy consequences. I am glad they decided to tune down their behavior and felt bad for it.

      1. Angel Rasper says:

        Thanks James! I knew it was a risk to do this, but I was prepared to take the necessary steps to block them from all accounts if necessary. It wasn’t until I starting putting things together more and started figuring out what they were doing that I decided to make this move. And as you can imagine … I chose not to do this with all of the problem children. 🙂 Have a great weekend James.

  7. Larry says:

    You always need to be vigelent. A troll can pop out of nowhere at anytime.

  8. robos says:

    Wow, amazing blog layout! How long have you been running a blog for? you make blogging look easy. The whole glance of your site is great, let alone the content!

  9. Michael Keane says:

    Sage advice to help people avoid wasting time, energy, and, often, emotion on the trolls.

    You’re correct: nothing makes a troll happier than acknowledgement; nothing displeases more than ignoring and avoiding them.

    Thank you.

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