Trolling online is not 'hilarious' it's despicableJun 27, 2021
Yesterday I was subjected to my first taste of trolling. In case you’re wondering, Trolling is a form of bullying, only online. It’s when keyboard warriors abuse other online users in a bid to make them feel worthless and inadequate. And in the case of my troll,
“to ensure they learn the hard way”
In my opinion it’s lower than physical bullying because trolls have the protection of the internet and have a tendency to insult people on a much deeper level than they would face to face. Face to face there’s the risk of being punched in the face. There’s no such risk through a computer screen.
I’m fortunate enough to have never been bullied in my life. Rightly or wrongly, I was brought up to nip bullying in the bud from the start. And on the odd occasions people have tried in the past I’ve ended up exchanging physical blows.
Back then I wouldn’t think logically and just respond in the only way I knew how. Physically instead of using my brain.
Thing is, bullies don’t like being challenged. They lie in wait and pounce on any given opportunity of vulnerability. Like a vulture circling above, waiting to swoop down and begin decimating a dead carcass.
For instance, I’m not a very big guy nor intimidating so I can (and have been) looked upon as an easy target. And because bullies think with their chimp brain, they put 2 + 2 together and come up with,
small = weak
weak = easy target
easy target = no fight back
It gives them instant gratification and a sense of power to put someone else down. It’s a disgusting way for a human being to behave. If I can teach my two boys anything it’s a) not to tolerate bullying and b) never, ever bully anyone.
Before we move on here, I’m not condoning physical fighting. I’ve since come to understand there are better ways to deal with bullying. And I will be teaching my boys to use their brains before their fists. But my point remains bullies don’t like to be challenged.
The problem is cyberbullying is very difficult to challenge. People say things they would never dream of in a physical face to face situation. There’s no human connection, not really.
Punching someone in the nose is quite simple, and in my experience ends up with an exchange in conversation. In some cases, a new friendship. Seriously, some people don’t realise the implications of their actions until they experience an equally hurtful exchange.
Again, I’m not condoning you fight fire with fire, but from experience someone people don’t realise the harm they are inflicting until it’s turned on to them.
Disclaimer: Please don’t hit people in the face. It’s not cool, I’m only giving you my own experiences of my past here.
But I digress, yesterday’s encounter did leave me with a bitter taste in my mouth. And a little angry. I know, I shouldn’t get triggered but bullying has this effect on me. I despise bullying. Anyone who feels it acceptable should be made to live on a remote island and avoid contact with all other humans. There they can suffer in their own misery and not inflict it onto others.
I’ve seen first-hand what it can do to people and how it can destroy their self-esteem and confidence. According to CDC, a study in Britain found at least half the suicides of young people is related to bullying. Ditch The Label has reported the following shocking stats:
- 44% of young people who have been bullied experience depression.
- 41% of young people who have been bullied experience social anxiety.
- 33% of those being bullied have suicidal thoughts.
But it’s not just young people, everyday people are bullied in the workplace and trolled online. As an online business owner, it’s to be expected. It doesn’t though mean you have to accept it.
Thing is, I’m relatively new to the online world and I’m still figuring things out. So, this presented me a new challenge. How do I challenge this without, in my trolls words, 'crying about it'
Let me paint some context into this, so you know exactly what went down.
There was a Facebook post in an entrepreneurial group I’m in that went like this:
What 3 personal development qualities do you think are essential as a business owner?
The responses were amazing. There was discussions and interactions, and people were offer their own interpretations of what they believed was essential. It was professional exchange of knowledge.
“this could be a good topic for conversation in a PT group. See where people are at and what they think about it”
So, I literally copied the question.
It did not go down well. Basically, a bunch of jacked up PT’s jumped in and started accusing me of “fishing for bait”. Pulling apart my responses by “pointing out” my grammar mistakes and spelling.
And because one jumped in the minions followed.
Basically, I got thrashed 🤣
Too be honest this didn’t bother me. I went through and responded. I had a little play back and made intentional grammar mistakes to keep them occupied. Okay, I know this was a little childish, but it kept both parties entertained, and no-one got hurt.
It made me think my post could have been worded better. Maybe it did trigger people the wrong way and they felt I was looking for “low hanging fruit”. I’m cool with that and open to be criticised. It means I can learn, adapt and move forward based on feedback.
But there was one comment that got me triggered:
“The ability to troll the shit out of these business coaches to ensure they learn the hard way”
This is not cool. And it gets worse.
Later into the conversation:
“Trolling is hilarious”
“Trolling is great fun”
I don’t care what anyone does or says in a professional capacity. It does not warrant small minded trolling. Debate and discussion? Absolutely. Ask challenging questions if you don’t believe what they are doing is ethical. Turn it into a discussion and make your professional opinion known.
Who knows, maybe your insights could help someone see it from a different angle and offer some value. Maybe you could learn something new or develop a skill in communication and human interaction. Maybe, just maybe you’ll understand a special human trait known as empathy.
But do not attack someone personally with insults and ridicule. On the end of these insults lies a human being. Someone who’s trying to make it in life and provide for their families. They have feelings and emotions just like everyone else and don’t deserve a beating or “to learn the hard way”
Trolling is not “hilarious”. And if you think it’s “great fun” then I question your existence as a human being. If getting kicks out of someone else pain gives you pleasure then you are quite simply, a despicable human.
It baffles me why people take this attitude. I mean, how would they feel if the shoe was on the other foot, or it was one of their loved ones receiving this type of abuse?
And would these people respond like this in a face-to-face encounter?
I don’t believe they would. I’m mystifies to why they behave like this on the opposite end of the screen.
I am though fortunate enough to be quite resilient. I’ve been battered enough in real life to be even slightly affected by a jacked-up, douchebag’s, chimp brain comment(s) over a digital platform.
Some people are not as fortunate, and this does concern me. Trolling/bullying should not be tolerated in any way, shape or form.
If you are ever on the receiving end of trolling or physical bullying, please know that it’s a reflection of the bully/troll’s own insecurities and small minded brain. It’s not you, it’s them.
Unfortunately, the reality is the online world is riddle with trolls and you will come across it, especially if you’re building a brand and business.
It does though require you develop a level of resilience, but it doesn’t mean you need to accept abuse and handle it alone. Building alliances and support with people who fight back against this kind of behaviour is essential for making it in the online world.
I have a free ‘safe space’ group for coaches & personal trainers. Never will you be subjected to trolling or abuse. That I can promise you.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Suicide Prevention, “Youth Suicide” [online]
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