Internet trolls

The bridges of the world have been rendered safe to traverse once more, thanks to the internet.

Because the trolls that once lurked in the muck beneath prefer to hurl their gristled complaints online.

Internet trolls can be the bane of a business's existence, latching onto social media posts and content and contaminating them with poison.

So how does one deal with the dreaded troll? Before we delve into that, let's explore some of the typical stereotypes you may encounter.

Racist Rodney: At his diplomatic 'best', Rodney waves slogans around like 'national pride'. At his vitriolic worst, he delivers colourful euphemisms about how our country cannot possibly sustain a population increase from abroad.

Conspiracy theory Chloe: Also known as 'Open your eyes Oliver'. Your posts are the opiate of the 'sheeple', a diversion tactic by government.

Shirty Shazza: Just because middle-aged Mandy has no formal education and has never left her home town of 3000 people, does not mean she doesn't have a strong opinion. Which is always right, and always trumps your so-called facts.

Baiting Barry: Comes in two forms, the one that gently dangles the weighted hook in the water ready to latch onto bites, and the more brazen version who crashes through every wall he can find to antagonise everyone.

Misogynist Michael: Those feminists, ruining everything. Even if your post is about trade relations in the Asia-Pacific, those bloody women.

Objectionable Oswald: You can't please everyone all of the time. And you can't please Oswald, ever.

No doubt you have seen examples like these pop up on your page before, sometimes more than once, sometimes every dang day. So what are the measures to deal with them?

First, know when not to bite

It is important to recognise the difference between a troll and a legitimate complaint. A North Queensland business found this out the hard way, going to town on a customer who complained about poor service recently. That business has now closed because the public boycotted it.

Apply a bit of humour

Use your nous, sometimes these trolls just want a little bit of attention. If their comments are non-inflammatory and just looking to stir the pot a little bit, throw a little sarcasm their way. It will make them feel validated and keep the feel of your page light.

Don't feed the trolls

In the case of the argumentative types, it is best to just ignore them. Nothing you say is going to sway them, it will just result in a lengthy thread which could be detrimental to your business. No one likes to see the manager having a blue with the customer.

Moderate, moderate, moderate

It can be so easy to set and forget posts, especially with scheduling options available. But you have to keep a keen eye on your patch, or the trolls could crawl all over it. Don't be afraid to straight out delete the comments made by the likes of Racist Rodney and Misogynist Michael.

Name and shame

In the most extreme cases, where a troll hammers your page relentlessly, take some screenshots and then block the heck out of them. Post these screenshots and advise that this behaviour will not be tolerated. It will create a sense of unity in the room, as your real customers don't want to see it either.

Seek legal advice

Defamation is not the sole domain of newspaper editors to worry about. Social media has resulted in loads of lawsuits across the globe. If you become victim to a coordinated attack on your credibility, speak to a lawyer.


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