I can’t decide whether I love or hate social media.
Yeah, it helps me keep in touch with friends & family I don’t get to see much, if ever. And I get it, if I don’t like something about it, maybe I should just get off that platform, right?
Well, it really doesn’t matter which platform you use anymore, there are trolls everywhere.
Shit, Twitter is one of the worst, IMO. It was trolls that put me so far off that platform, I simply abandoned my Twitter account, & walked away without deleting it. *cue dusty wind blowing & tumbleweed rolling across screen*
Instagram is the pressed-plastic, Barbie Dream House version of people’s “lives”. It can be amusing, & I find some great memes there, but I’ve never taken anything there as real. It’s all window dressing, never mind the pins & tape behind the curtain.
TikTok has changed something for me, though. Some days it’s good, & it makes me feel great about myself & the world, and some days, I have to put my phone face down on silent & walk away.
Goddess, don’t even get me started on Facebook. 🤐
My point is, I used to be one of those so-called “keyboard warriors”, out there till the wee hours of the morning defending the downtrodden, and burying the bullies.
Or, so I thought.
But, I finally came to realize, that – Even if you feed trolls garbage…
You’re still feeding them.
I get it, it’s REALLY difficult to walk away when you see this bottom-feeding behavior on a subject, site, or person’s post that you care about. And it’s SOOOO easy to let your itchy trigger fingers wander over the keyboard & give them a good smack-down. Or what you THINK is a smack-down, anyway, because honestly? They’re probably sitting with their phone in their hand, or in front of their keyboard, giggling to themselves over ALLLL the ATTENTION and validation they’re receiving.
Because it IS validating, in their minds anyway. It proves their existence, & their “nobody gets me, the world’s against me, so I have the right to stand here & yell louder than everyone else”.
They enjoy being polarizing, & watching as people around them start spinning in circles, popping off at them, while they’re safely munching popcorn behind their screen.
And, it’s absolutely infuriating to others, when the trolls refuse to back down, or inflame situations higher.
But – in cases where it’s just trolling? And not actual internet terrorism? And, by terrorism, I’m talking bullying, harassing, doxxing, stalking, etc… ( and yes, all genders are guilty of this)
If it’s just some Incel wanting to start a virtual fisticuffs for funsies?
Blocking works. I’ve blocked so many strangers on social media, because I’ve seen them being trolls to other people. I’m just glad that so far, there’s no numerical limit to how many people I can block, or I’d have hit that wall on Facebook years ago.
Blocking these people doesn’t just keep me from responding to their infantilism, it means I don’t have to see it, & they can’t see my stuff, either, at least on FB and TikTok.
Hmm, (hot take) this is just another method of using the INFJ door slam…
Humorous rebuttals can sometimes work, too, if you can figure out a way to totally confuse the troll, & get them off balance.
I had one make a not-nice comment on one of my tiktoks, once, smarting off about something that was totally irrelevant to the video, was supposed to be personally hurtful, & posted in such a way as to make them look like the victim of bullying if I responded defensively.
Instead, I snarked back with an overly-sweet, totally sarcastic, comment, that was impossible to twist without watching me rolling my eyes while typing.
I got an apology *shrug*, & an “I’m sorry, I had a bad day”. Not a valid excuse to be an asshole to a stranger minding their own business, so I responded again with
“Yup, I was amused, honestly.”
Nothing pisses trolls off like having others being mildly amused at their antics, instead of being offended.
Anywho, I try my best, these days. When I see someone being a jackhole for no apparent reason, I practice aggressive passivity.
I clench my fists (and usually my teeth too), I take deep, slow breaths, & I do one of 3 things.
1. Scroll on, because it’s not worth the hassle to engage.
2. Block/Shun, because the person is a jackhole, sexist, racist, homophobe, tinfoil fanatic, whatever, & I don’t need that kind of stress in my already stressful life.
3. Snipe back with so much sugar and tart they lose their teeth. (I got really good at using words to insult people without them realizing it when I was young)
I’m not out here, trying to change people’s minds about how they handle trollish behavior, I’m telling you my way.
But, if I could add one request?
Please don’t feed the trolls, because they end up making everyone else feel sick when they grow from it.