As anyone with a decent social media following knows, comments are part of the process. Whether they are good, bad or indifferent, they are something to put up with if you want to grow yourself and your brand. But how can you affectively deal with the rude ones? We spoke to Natalia Wiechowski of Think Natalia fame to find out more…
Sadly, from receiving mean messages like “Muppet!!” or “You are beautiful but without human value!” to the outright perverted messages, “Is 150K AED enough for a weekend on an island with me?” is not a surprise to Natalia. “These are just some of the rude comments and messages that I have received on my social media channels from internet trolls. That said, one of my closest friends finds it quite entertaining to read through my Linkedin, Facebook or Instagram comments,” she says with a laugh.
So how does she deal with the negativity, ignorance and hate on her social media accounts. Natalia recommends:
Cultivate a healthy relationship with yourself, which will provide you with enough self-confidence and self-esteem to not react to any provocation. When a human being comes from a place of hate, jealousy or aggression, debating with that person, interacting with that individual, is a waste of energy and time. (S)he is clearly out of balance, which is a proof that (s)he does not even respect her-/himself. By not answering you demonstrate that you are maturer and more self-aware than the bully. In Dale Partridge‘s words: “Your Silence Is More Powerful Than Their Noise“.
Another helpful – and hilarious – argument in this context comes from Mark Twain: “Never argue with stupid people. They will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.” For those who think that Mark Twain‘s quote is politically incorrect, please replace the word “stupid” with “ignorant” or “semi-conscious”.
A List of People Who Matter
Sara Lando, a fascinating Italian artist, shared another tool with me. When I met her, said something along the following lines (this is not an original quote from Sara) when we talked about how to handle internet trolls: “Natalia, if you decide to tell me one day that my work is crap, I could not care less… I created a list of 5 or 6 people who are dear to my heart. They love me and are honest with me. Their opinions matter. Other opinions not so much.”
In other words: You can only insult me when I value your opinion. So in order to insult me, you need to be on my list. But as you are not, I do not value your opinion. So you cannot insult me. Powerful, isn’t it?
The Invisible Zipper
SilkCelia, the women who regularly helps me erase blockages out of my system, shared two further pragmatic hacks with me: Before I go online, I always close a huge invisible zipper in front of me. I grab some air in front of my hips – imagining it would be the zipper clip – and pull it up behind my head. While doing so I state: “I am protected against all negativity, BS and drama. I am in peace with myself.” I know… this may sound a bit esoteric but again: It works for me.
Another interesting approach is to distance myself from negative comments and messages by reminding myself that my pictures or written words out there are only photos, letters, objects. Internet trolls attack a piece of data in the world wide web. Not me as a human being. I am sitting here happily at my desk.
Let Your Followers Do The Work
I forgot which digital influencer taught me this concept, but he always only answers the comments of people who posted before and after the internet troll, which means that he ignores the negative person. This goes hand in hand with the first mentioned “no answer is an answer” idea.
Furthermore, I observed something very interesting during the last few weeks: Once you have helped or inspired a certain amount of people, your followers will step up and defend you. In my case their comments are absolutely brilliant, as they make use of intellectual humor and/or sarcasm. I genuinely love my followers for that. Thank you!
Last Option: Block The Trolls
In some scenarios, the only thing you can do is blocking certain human beings from your social media channels. I use this strategy as the very, very last option. When? For example when individuals tag me in pornographic content, repeatedly send me bizarre messages like “hiiiiiii, sexi girl! I love u. I wanna make u my bride.” or if they send me certain pictures that quite frankly, no woman wants to see (Why do some men do that?). The latter finally stopped this year. But when I launched my social media channels in mid 2015, I received at least one obscene photo per day.
As mentioned earlier, this is what works for me and what I need to do to stay sane. You need to find out where your limit of tolerance lies.
I read about the following funny and kind reminder a few days ago: “There are eight billion people on this earth. Do not allow one a**hole to ruin your day.” In my own words I would translate this into: Whatever happens in life, remember that you have the power of choice. You can either act like a victim and/or get upset or simply laugh and do not let a(n) event or person bother you.