You don’t have to be online for long to know that trolls and haters are everywhere.
They’re on your Facebook fan page, Twitter, and even in the comments on your last YouTube Video. In fact, the bigger your audience gets, the more trolls and haters you’ll have.
I think it was Thumper (you know, from Bambi?) who said:
"If you can't say something nice, don't say nothin' at all."
Sadly, most trolls have either never seen Bambi or they just ignore the golden rule when engaging online.
Here's my solution for dealing with online trolls, haters or cyberbullies.
Let’s start with trolls…
When we talk about trolls I don’t mean those weird dolls with the big hair I collected as a kid.
I’m talking about the #StupidPeople who get their kicks leaving hateful comments on people’s posts and videos.
Trolls have one goal: to make you angry or upset. If you deny them the pleasure of a reaction, 99% of the time they’ll leave you alone.
“Don’t feed the trolls.”
They’re hungry for power. If you take away their power by ignoring their existence, they’ll usually find another place to troll.
What happens if they don’t? We’ll talk about that in a sec.
First, it’s important to know that not all trolls are the same. Sometimes, a 'troll' is really just a 'hater'.
What’s the difference?
A troll’s the genius who types “THIS SUCKS” in the comments box. Trolls usually don’t know you and the abuse isn’t personal.
A hater, on the other hand, could be a follower, fan or customer (if you have a business). It’s not random. They hate the point of view of your last post, your YouTube video, and anything else you do because they wish they were you or maybe you just happen to look like their ex, who knows? Mostly, they’re just glass-half-empty folks angry at anyone reaching success.
So, how do you deal with a hater?
Don’t react. RESPOND.
Not everyone’s gonna like every episode of your web series, like every quote you post or have the same opinions. The best way to deal with a grumpy fan or subscriber isn’t to get defensive.
Kill them with kindness instead.
If you create content it’s good to consider the critical comments because you could find things to improve for your next video. Then kill the hater with kindness...
....and move on.
When you’re nice to a hater they won’t know what to do and they’ll let their guard down.
Comedian Sarah Silverman responded to a hater after he called her the C-word on Twitter. Instead of reacting, she responded - with ultimate kindness. Through their dialogue she learned he was in a lot of pain from a back injury and she eventually helped him find a support group and paid for his medical bills. #KindnessWins.
Now, let’s get real.
If the troll doesn’t go away, if the trolling or hate is persistent and becomes abusive, then it’s cyberbullying.
There are laws that can help you if anyone abuses, stalks or threatens you online. The best way to protect yourself is to collect evidence. Screenshot all tweets, posts or comments that contain the abuse. Remember cyberbullies are actually BIG COWARDS and will usually try to delete the evidence when accused.
The great news is every social network makes it easy to report abuse. I hope you never have to use these links, but you can report the cyberbullies on Twitter here, Instagram here, Facebook here, YouTube here, and Snapchat here.
Once you’ve collected the evidence, reported the troll/hater/cyberbully then block them so they can’t bother you anymore.
If you’re a parent of a child/teen actor this is very important...
Cyberbullying can become an issue when kids at school become jealous of your child’s acting success. Remind your child actor that, though other kids may be jealous, they shouldn’t respond with their own negative comments. Ignoring a bully’s negative comments on your child’s social media is the best way to deal with them. But just like with adults don’t ignore messages containing physical threats. Immediately screenshot and report them.
Sadly, haters and trolls aren’t going away anytime soon, but hopefully now you have a plan next time one of them tries to crash your party on social.
Don’t feed the trolls.
Kill your ‘hater’ fans and followers with kindness and walk away.
Block the trolls and haters if necessary.
Always document and report cyberbullying.
And above all, remember: It’s not you, it’s them.
See you on social,