The cardinal rule of community management: do not feed the trolls

Photo: There's a Troll in the Garden Credit: Hazel Moore

I almost did it. It was really, REALLY hard to resist.  I was going to show him who I was. How dare he try to malign my client’s reputation. I crafted the PERFECT comeback.…for a troll. I was perched precariously on the Facebook cliff, editing, reworking, rethinking and editing some more.

I feel witty.

I got lured into thinking I could take him down and my response would go viral like AMC Theatres or Taco Bell.  That’s my problem…I’m jealous of these people who write these AWESOME responses. I just want to be that witty.

So there it was.  The perfectly sarcastic, in a light and humorous way, comment.  All I had to do was hit “Share” and it would appear.  Something stopped me.  I wanted to find an even better comeback (contrary to popular belief, I have to work really hard at being witty.  I’m one of those people who, three hours later, says “Oh. That’s what I needed to say. Why didn’t I think of that at the time?”)  I erased the reply so I could noodle on it for a while.

I sought help to craft the perfect reply.  I asked my husband who has been known to deadpan more than a few zingers.  Then I posted a query in a private forum where some of the best and wittiest community managers I know could help.  That’s when it happened.

Intervention

That group of social medialites talked me down off the cliff.  They reminded me of the cardinal rule of community management “Don’t Feed the Trolls.”  How could I forget?  How did I not see this for what it was?  How could I even consider replying with like sarcasm?

It just goes to show that a good troll can get to anyone…even a seasoned pro.  So, today, my message to you is twofold

  1. Don’t Feed the Trolls, no matter how tempting;
  2. Find someone to be your sober second thought, your conscience, your lifesaver, your safety net…and take advantage of that if you’re not sure of what you are about to post.

If you don’t have a lifeline…call me, text me, Facebook or tweet me. I’m much better at seeing trolls for who they are when I’m not involved.

What are your experiences with social media’s unsavory elements?  Have you ever engaged them or do you always show restraint?

 

The original article, “The Hardest Thing To Resist Doing on Your Facebook Page,” by Anita Hovey was originally published on the Twirp Communications website

Republished with permission, courtesy of Twirp Communications.  Original Article

Photo Credit

Anita Hovey
Anita Hovey is the Head Twirp at Twirp Communications in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She provides social media training for business, including social media workshops and personalized training, and full-service social media management. Her specialty is women-focused organizations and women-owned businesses.

Comments

  1. says

    It’s always important to have someone talk you down. But it does happen: sooner or later, we just want to feed the trolls SO badly.

    I recently read of another blogger’s troll problem and a comment someone left there led to a post on my site about a way to deal with trolls that’s a little more devious: http://www.patrickkphillips.com/2013/02/04/a-great-way-to-handle-comment-trolls-blogging/

    I suspect more comment systems will eventually offer such an option. At least, I hope they will!

  2. says

    Hello Anita,

    Thanks for a great post! I think many of us have to face trolls in the online realm, whether we like it or not! Unsavory comments are one thing. Another thing that seems to be out of our control is people copying content. Anyone who’s spent hours on that great idea – brainstorming, writing, editing, making it perfect etc. will know what I mean.

    Many people filch the whole post and write a tiny line at the bottom saying ‘reproduced with permission’ or similar, when in fact they haven’t done so.

    Has this happened to you and how do you deal with it?

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