I just read, actually a very nice and empowering, post by Olive Ole: Technique against Trolls and Bullies.
I think much of all the advice absolutely makes sense and I also agree with that. Still, I might have some points I’d like to complement without taking anything away of that post. I write a blog post on its own instead of a comment as I can write more freely here 🙂
The first one is the difference between real life and online (only) relationships.
Relationships not in the sense of being a couple but interaction between people in general. When one is trolled in real life, or being bullied, to me, it is much more difficult to handle as in many situations there is no escape and one might have to see that person, or group, every. single. day. It takes also courage and the insight in knowing a person’s weakness to point out with a hit. Unfortunately, I didn’t have that courage when I was a child and there were many more than just 1 bully. So, from my experience, there is no “switch off” button.
That brings me to the second point, and that is awareness and choice.
For a short while, I used an app called Whisper. That’s an app on which everyone just can fart out whatever is in their bloody minds, anonymously, just to get rid of it. They say that “All starts with a Whisper” and that it is perfect to share secrets and things one wouldn’t do in real life, Facebook, whatever other app. There too, random people trolling random strangers, about whatever topic. Surely, there were some good conversations too, but still.
Once I saw someone completely getting affected by such a troll and I asked her, privately, why it affects her that much. She had her ‘secret’ and that made her vulnerable. So, trolls see that and go exactly after her vulnerability and pinpoint the weak spot as she just wrote that out.
It is not only on random stranger apps like whisper but also on Twitter, Facebook groups/pages and all. Yet, my line of thought stays the same. We need to be aware that online many people are random, met by chance, having no clue about your private context, not being able to see or give the right nuance and that we, therefore, cannot or shouldn’t give people we met this way value to own lives/ourselves they haven’t gotten a clue about. Yes, sure there are people when there is a click and one can start sharing that context, nuance, experience, etc, with as goal to understand, to learn, to add-on to your own life either by giving or receiving.
My addition to Olive’s post is, to be aware not to give any value to anyone who one has randomly met by chance online (maybe offline too actually). Who are you trying to take something away from me? What have you done to deserve my attention? Tell me, can you add-on to my life positively, or can I add on to yours? No? Byeeeeee!!!! and there always is a block option on any app or forum. You are important and with all imperfections you have, you never should allow giving value to people who abuse that. You’re too good for that to happen.
It also is a matter of choice, reason before emotion. What is best for me in this particular context and is it sustainable. In a group setting, a Facebook group about a particular subject, there are more people who sees that troll, and when there are stronger relationships, the troll is on his own and you can ask help from other people. When it is a one on one situation, then, “don’t pick a fight you can’t win” and if blocking is solving the problem, perfect! There was once a student who quit the program I was teaching. We already were on facebook but then he started to turn out being nasty, trolling and all. Well, that showed how he was, his attitude of not having the courage to speak it out in real life and trying to annoy me on facebook. Ooohh I really didn’t want to put attention to him at all, and just blocked. Yes, sure things happened before he left the school, I made mistakes too, yet, open to solve them.
To wrap it up, there are people who matter and people who don’t. Give to the people who matter and drop the rest (without feeling bad about it!).