Writers Must Not Feed the Trolls

Authors have a unique opportunity to connect with their readers and fans through social media. It’s a platform where they can share their thoughts, insights, and engage in meaningful discussions about their work. However, this digital landscape also has its dark side: trolls. Trolls are people who thrive on negativity and live to provoke and agitate. While it might be tempting to respond to them, please don’t. Let me tell you why you should resist the urge and avoid “feeding the trolls” on social media.

Preserving Mental Health

One of the biggest reasons for authors to refrain from engaging with trolls is just good mental health. Trolls are known for their vicious and often personal attacks, and responding to such negativity can take a toll on your emotional well-being. Constructive criticism can be valuable, but that’s not what trolls offer. Instead, they thrive on getting you upset and angry. By not engaging with trolls, you can protect your mental health and maintain a positive online environment.

Drowning Out the Positive

When we respond to trolls, we often find ourselves caught in a never-ending cycle of back-and-forth arguments. This is frustrating and time-consuming. It also diverts our attention from engaging with the people in our audience that are supportive and appreciative of our work. Feeding the trolls can drown out the friendly voices and lead to missed opportunities for meaningful interactions.

Legal Consequences

Engaging with trolls can often escalate a situation, leading to legal troubles. Trolls may attempt to provoke you into making statements that can be used against you. This can result in legal issues, such as defamation lawsuits or accusations of harassment. By avoiding confrontations with trolls, you can protect yourself from these potentially costly and time-consuming legal battles.

The Streisand Effect

The Streisand Effect is a phenomenon in which an attempt to hide, remove, or censor information has the unintended consequence of publicizing it more widely. When we engage with trolls, we bring more attention to the negative comments and end up amplifying the trolls’ messages. This inevitably backfires and leads to more people seeing and discussing the negative content. By ignoring trolls, we can mitigate the Streisand Effect and avoid making the situation worse.

Fueling the Fire

Trolls often feed off the attention they receive, and engaging with them can be like adding gasoline to a campfire. Responding to trolls only encourages them to persist in their nasty behavior and escalate their attacks. Trolls may even view author responses as a sign of weakness and use it as an opportunity to amp up their efforts. Don’t give them the satisfaction of a reaction.

Social media has become a double-edged sword for authors. While it offers a wonderful platform to connect with readers and fans, it also exposes authors to trolls who thrive on negativity. The best strategy is to avoid feeding the trolls and not respond to their provocations. By doing so, authors can preserve their mental health, maintain a positive online environment, and avoid legal issues. It’s a powerful way to deny trolls the attention they crave, allowing all of us to focus on the readers who genuinely appreciate our work.

In the end, silence is the most powerful response to those who seek to disrupt and distract.