— October 2, 2018
The internet is a blessing and a curse. We have access to unlimited information and we can connect with millions of people on a daily basis. The internet has made it possible for us to share ideas and start businesses from scratch with limited capital.
There’s also the less positive side of the internet. You’ve probably encountered negativity here and there. It can be pretty hurtful when there’s negativity about you and your business online. Before you take it too personally, here are some tips to help you deal:
Consider Whether the Feedback is Valid
There’s a difference between trolls and people who are giving you constructive criticism. Feedback should be considered if it’s helpful to your business. I welcome critiques of my work from people who have good intentions and who treat me with respect.
Comments to slander your name should be considered with a grain of salt. Recently, I was looking through book reviews on Amazon and saw a commenter give an author a negative review because of their differing political beliefs. The book had absolutely nothing to do with politics. In this situation, there’s no use over analyzing. The person is not giving you valid feedback. They’re trying to be hurtful.
Trolls feed off engagement. They want to get a rise out of you. Watching you get flustered or angry motivates them to continue. Just take a look at the Webster’s definition of internet trolling, “to antagonize (others) online by deliberately posting inflammatory, irrelevant, or offensive comments or other disruptive content.” They are purposely kicking up dust for entertainment.
Unless the troll is making criminal threats, ignoring them is one of the best methods of defense. They eventually tire themselves out and move on to another person or trending topic to troll. Is it fair? No. But for your sanity, don’t get caught up into their madness.
I watched an interview with Kylie Jenner who said it best. One day everyone’s talking about something you did and the next day it’s old news. Be patient and take a break from the internet if you’re getting pestered by trolls. The storm should pass. If it doesn’t, follow the next tip.
Keep Evidence, Block, and Report
You can also block certain people from your social media accounts. You may even be able to block IP addresses from your website through your hosting platform. Here’s the process at GoDaddy.
If you’re experiencing harassment that’s starting to make you feel uncomfortable, make sure you keep records of all interactions. You can use stopbullying.gov for support. Bullying is not just an issue that you experience in adolescence. Adult bullying and cyberbullying is a real issue and one you shouldn’t feel bad about addressing.
Dealing with trolls and bullies isn’t fun for anyone. It’s something that many of us experience at least once in online business. Sometimes people like to project their frustrations about other things happening in their life on to people they don’t know. It’s easy to be an internet bully when you’re sitting behind a screen. Try not to feed into it and focus on customers that do “get you” and appreciate your business.