Home > Uncategorized > Handling Online Anonymity and Internet Trolls

Handling Online Anonymity and Internet Trolls

I was reading an article today on Mashable that said that 56% of teens say that they have been bullied online. This got me thinking in general about the problems of online anonymity or just the general idea that people will say things that they wouldn’t typically say in person using an online forum.

Bullying among teens isn’t a new problem. Bullying has been around since there have been popular kids and mini-hierarchies in schools. The form of bullying has changed in a way since this new generation has been given the internet and the freedom to say whatever they want in a very public venue.

source: cliparttoday.com

Just going through the comments section of any blog it’s easy to see how mean people can be. There are trolls on all sorts of internet forums. As a marketer it’s important to have open discussions on your web site or social media pages, but it can be hard to read some of these inflammatory comments. It can be tempting to want to automatically defend yourself. The blog Flack Rabbit lists some ways to handle trolls on a blog or forum. I think this article gives some good information, like not deleting the post and not immediately responding. Smaller companies may feel an instant need to defend themselves, but that shouldn’t be the immediate reaction.

In many forums if a web site has a strong following, it may not even be necessary to respond. Many times followers will handle trolls themselves with smart responses. It’s important to remember trolls feed off of confrontation and by not providing feedback yourself they may slowly back off. However, if someone does have sincere problems or concerns about your company it’s important to not get offended and respond to legitimate claims.


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