Social Media Trolls: Who, Why and How?

Every time I come across a troll online, I get upset. No, I’m definitely not talking about the ugly dwarfs depicted in folklore. I’m talking about those people who enjoy disrupting the peace of online communities without a care in the world.

Trolling is completely wrong and, although, these people are aware of that, it doesn’t stop them anyway.

What goes through a troll’s mind when they are busy trolling? I guess figuring that out would make learning to handle them a little easier.

Who is an Internet Troll?

A troll is a member of an online community who deliberately chooses to attack or offend others by posting nasty comments or other forms of online contents (including photos, GIFS, or videos) under the pretense of merely “sharing their opinions”. In recent times however, trolling has come to simply mean Online Harassment.

{Read: Social Media and Its Effects: Cyber-bullying and Impersonation}

Trolls are not very hard to find, they are present on all social media platforms. As long as there is a free area for people to air their views, you can most definitely find a troll there.

Why Do People Troll?

1. For the fun of it

These are far from the worst kind of trolls you would ever meet. They hardly ever have any reason to troll someone, so they just do it because they can. Most times, they are just cowards who run off when they start to garner too much attention. They may even delete their nasty contents or render an apology when they realize the damage they have caused. They may say something like “I’m sorry I didn’t mean what I said, I was just bored”. Anything to make it seem like they didn’t think their actions through. Except that they did but went ahead regardless.

Some of them do it to be funny. Others, to simply be annoying. On the other side of the screen though, they are often harmless.

2. They are haters

Plain and simple. These guys are often unhappy with their lives and so, instead of trying to fix themselves, they choose to spread all that bitterness and negativity to everyone around them so they don’t suffer alone. It doesn’t seem to matter to them just how pure, innocent, enlightening or even beautiful your post is. They just decide they do not like you because you’re happy. Mostly, they spread their hate through insults and false accusations, or merely by spreading rumors all over the place. It may sometimes be so severe that it could be considered as “cyber bullying.

3. To provoke an emotional response

You could say these trolls are driven by jealousy. You have something they don’t and so they choose to rip your confidence to shreds. If you decide to go into an argument or face-off with these guys, you would probably regret it later because they won’t stop until they’re certain they have messed with your emotions. Seeing you shed digital waterworks would certainly give them the satisfaction they seek. They have nothing on you in real life, try to keep it that way.

4. For validation

Being savage is considered trendy by some. It used to be just the ones who gave epic clap-backs that were labeled savage but these days, even the trolls are getting the thumbs-up from their terrible friends. Hence, these trolls do not mind being called rude or mannerless; they just take advantage of the fact they are behind screens and cannot get punched in the mouth for their words.

5. To be considered knowledgeable

These guys really piss you off. They are the ones who go around telling other people how they have misspelled or wrongly used words and, no, they are not really interested in correcting them. You can tell because they never use constructive criticism and they may even go as far as using those grammatical errors to humiliate those who used them. They just do it to be considered as “Know-It-Alls”.

The ones who challenge the message of a well-researched piece belong to this category as well. How they love to raise unnecessary arguments even when no one cares to read their long threads of comments.

Sometimes, they also employ sarcasm to poke fun at others. The Know-It-All troll may cause an uproar in the comments section but they generally would keep at it until the other users give up.

6. For the attention

Sounds ridiculous? I know! These guys troll because the attention they get afterwards makes them feel good about themselves. You would often find them using ghost accounts to lurk on the pages of famous people or even regular people like themselves. They believe every publicity is good publicity, so they are completely cool with being recognized even if it is as the bad guys. They like the idea of so many people talking about them at the same time and most times, they achieve that.

Amongst the attention seeking trolls are those who like to pretend to be offended by seemingly harmless posts just so they can attract sympathy. They may do these by blowing your jokes out of proportion or by twisting your words to mean something asides what you intend them for. Examples are those who may ridiculously call you out as sexist even when you’re clearly just stating facts. You know those guys who leave multiple comments on posts forever referring people to their page to check out their products? They belong here too, kinda.

How Can I Deal with Trolls?

This can be really testing especially if you’re as unproblematic a person as I am. If you have never had a personal encounter with an online troll, best believe you would, sooner or later (as long as you plan to keep using social media).

There are three basic ways to handle the troll situation:

1. Ignore

Not everyone has it in them to pretend not to care about the hurtful things they are being made to suffer on the internet, especially on their own page. However, the wise thing to do if you notice a troll is to try ignoring them initially.

Realize that you shouldn’t be reacting to everything that is thrown at you. It isn’t healthy.

I mean, this is life and there would always be people with something negative to say. Sometimes, you may be really pushed to put a troll in their place but, more often than not, such ventures only result in unending and unpleasant exchange of words. Eventually, you would be playing the same game trolls play and that doesn’t make you any different. Chances are that they would back off after sometime and find something better to do especially if they are just for the fun of it.

With the haters and those who would love to provoke an emotional response though, the trolling could get a bit more persistent.

The most important thing to bear in mind is to not let them project their insecurities on you. Remember that they do not care the slightest about you or your emotions so you do not want to play the victim with these people.

The other two ways to deal with trolls apply here:

2. Report them to media authorities

This way, they could be sent an official warning or even suspended from using their accounts for a while. That should teach them a thing or two. Moreover, everyone deserves a second chance, right?

OR

3. Block them

This is straight up the easiest and fastest way to deal with trolls.

If you are not a very tolerant person or you find it really hard to function around bad energy, the block button was made just for you.

To all internet trolls out there, one day you may find yourself face to face with someone you hurt online sometime in the past and I hope when you do, that bad decision doesn’t cost you an opportunity. So you may want to pause to think things through the next time you’re tempted to drop that mean comment on someone’s photograph, or drop that nasty GIF on a person’s piece they worked hard on. You do not necessarily have to hold a gun to someone’s head before you have the power to kill them, your words pull the trigger too.

Stop going around stripping people of their self esteem, you never know how long it took them to build it, or how much damage your actions could do to them, even if you were just trying to be funny.

{Read: Social Media: Who to Follow and Why?}

Like they say:

Everyone is fighting a silent battle you know nothing about, so be kind, always!

Spread love, not hate. And if you don’t have anything good to say, then don’t say anything at all.


How else do you think one can deal with social media trolls that I didn’t mention? Feel free to share in the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe to this blog to not miss a post.

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9 thoughts on “Social Media Trolls: Who, Why and How?

  1. This is a wonderful piece. A piece I will recommend for any teenager who trolls people or gets trolled by people on social media.

    One way I think teenagers can avoid or deal with trolling is keeping their sanity first.

    – Stop following people whose favorite attitude is body shaming, trolling and backlashing people on social media.

    – Avoid jumping on trends. Most people get clap backs that could make them depressive by just jumping on trends on social media. You don’t need to air your opinion about a certain issue on social media.

    ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•

    Like

  2. This is a wonderful piece. A piece I will recommend for any teenager who trolls people or gets trolled by people on social media.

    One way I think teenagers can avoid or deal with trolling is keeping their sanity first.

    – Stop following people whose favorite attitude is body shaming, trolling and backlashing people on social media.

    – Avoid jumping on trends. Most people get clap backs that could make them depressive by just jumping on trends on social media.

    ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•

    Liked by 1 person

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