Recently, I was participating in online forum and one of the users asked a question - How do you deal with trolls - fight/flight?
The effective strategy is combination of both; flight options are very simple – block the troll, ignore, avoid responding and so on.
Dealing with trolls is lot similar to dealing with bullies; who try to hijack in person conversations. Follow those simple rules and techniques. Never forget that trolls on social media have much bigger theatre hence highly motivated.
Begin with Clear message: Basic rules of communication are universal and apply to Social Media communication too. It’s important to have clarity about the message – What, how and why before you communicate. More so when doing it on social media where your message has wide reach even beyond its intended audience. Even while expressing your emotions or spontaneous response, remember why are you posting, what is it about and how?
Your own clarity is your best defence against trolls. At times, I have just stated – “I was expressing my anguish, joy or opinion”, because I was clear what I posted and why.
Stay focused on your message and thread: Well begin is half done, once you have clarity, your job is simple. Stay focused on your message, audience and thread. Use facts to reiterate your message & purpose. In the picture here is an example from my own tweet. Someone tried a response totally out of context of discussion. I simply stated facts and used opportunity to reiterate the Message “Values & Culture”.
Avoid getting sucked in troll's trap: Main objective of trolls is to take discussion on a different tangent. It’s easy to get sucked into their trap because they tend to press emotional hot buttons. Strategies often used like humorous responses end up serving troll’s purpose. You may not want to be humorous in context of the message. So be careful while deciding on your flight strategy. Once again see the example how we stopped at our message of “Values & Culture” and avoided temptation of adding “not religion” (sarcasm).
Similarly few times, we experienced trolls hijacking conversation between group of friends. We avoided emotional response and outbursts; continued to focus on the message; this helped us avoid troll's trap.
Have a great time on social media !!