The best way to deal with internet trolls

Last year I posted a questions about photography in a Facebook group and included a “Pic for attention.” Posts in those groups generally go unnoticed unless there is an accompanying photo so usually photographers will just upload a photo that relates to the question, in this case, a family photography question.

While six or seven people commented helpful answers, one girl commented “Why are they standing in water…?”

While not cruel by any means, there was definitely a little shady undertone that said, “I don’t understand your creative choices.” Which might as well be “You suck!” to an artist because have you heard? We are ALL sensitive, vulnerable and insecure when it comes to our art.

My first instinct was to pounce back. “JUST BECAUSE YOU DON’T GET IT DOESN’T MEAN IT’S NOT GOOD!!!” or something equally defensive. I mean, I’ve always been of the belief that it’s extremely arrogant to assume that because you don’t like something, that makes it definitively bad.

After a few minutes of feeling embarrassed, I decided to skip the whole thing. I thanked those who commented helpful comments and ignored her comment. An hour later, I checked back and no one had commented, liked, disliked, laughed at or reacted to her comment in any way. The next morning I checked again and she had deleted her comment.

There was no war. There was no drama. There were no sides. I stood, silent and still on my ground and she ran away. If that isn’t a win, then I don’t know what is.

When we wage internet war, both sides lose. 

Last night on Pinterest, I came across a quote that said “There is no greater threat to the narcissists ego than being rendered insignificant and meaningless.”

Shoot, girl. I’m not looking to render someone insignificant and meaningless but that quote is interesting as heck, don’t you think?

The only thing way a troll loses is if they are met with complete and utter silence. We’ve all heard the advice, “Don’t feed the trolls” and it’s 100% true. Their GOAL is to get your reaction and attention. So why give them what they want? Why not just snuff out that flame by literally saying, “This comment isn’t even worth a thumbs down.”?

It’s the hardest thing though, isn’t it? We live in an age where we all want to be heard, we all want to be seen, we all want to voice our opinions loud and proud. But if we really want to trump internet hate, we need to refuse to give those people our attention.

I’ll leave you with this cartoon I found on Humor Gags because it 100% applies to everything on the internet. We are so powerful and we don’t even know it.

Denise Karis is an Arizona photographer who enjoys musicals, Doctor Who and breakfast burritos. IG @denisekaris

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