Trolls, and how to deal with them

Ignore them, right? If only it was that simple, although it’s still probably the best advice.

For years, we’ve been living in a world where social media is ubiquitous. Even technophobes are aware of it. Social media “news” regularly crops up in traditional media platforms, with the first week of February proving this when two examples were publicised: French actress Eva Green got herself in hot water over several WhatsApp messages; and British Airways banned cabin crew and pilots from taking selfies in the cockpit (passengers were undoubtedly relieved that pilots aren’t using their phones whilst at the controls!)

Sometimes, it feels like there’s no escaping social media. We’ve highlighted the many benefits of it – and a lot of our models use it to their advantage. See our wonderful blogs

For models, social media is great to share experiences, modelling tips, evaluations, new snaps and advice. It can be an invaluable marketing platform in its own right. It’s not vain to feel a sense of pride or accomplishment to hear of praise and a hearty “well done” when models post success stories on social media; this type of self publicity can be priceless, and we encourage models to keep sharing the good stuff.

But, unfortunately, for every 100 decent social media users out there, there seems to be one or two bad apples spoiling the interaction between both friends and strangers.
“Trolling” is the act of someone posting or replying to someone online in a malicious or harassing manner. Trolling can take the form of putting someone down, attacking them racially, or making sexist remarks – and in many other ways. Sometimes, a cheeky comment is taken out of context, but in many cases a troll is easily identifiable.

So, how can you deal with a troll? Below are some ideas. You might favour one over others, but whatever you do, please tread carefully and don’t make any nasty cyber attacks worse than they are.

1. Maybe the simplest way is to block and / or report them to the provider. This doesn’t mean there’s going to be any retaliation or backlash; it just means that, if the social media’s filters are effective, you won’t hear from them again. Good riddance!

2. Think twice before replying. Do you really want to reply? If you do – just for the sake of not giving trolls a “free shot” – don’t fret about the reply and don’t make it the main event of your working week. Some trolls just like to ping comments almost at random, forgetting they’ve done it in the first place.

3. Wise up! Learning a bit more about the Internet works might be a good idea, because you may pick up technical tidbits to add to your anti-trolling armoury. Knowledge is power, right?

4. Call their bluff. Interested in going on the attack? Fair enough, as long as you don’t reply with anything controversial or nasty yourself. Don’t sink to their level (after all, mythology tells us that trolls do live underground, so how low does that make them already?!)

5. Ask yourself, “Why do trolls do it?” It might because they crave attention. Maybe they’re bored, or jealous, or want to undermine someone’s confidence. They could just be spiteful people. If it’s any of the above reasons, just remember that you’re the better person and these trolls don’t deserve any respect from the vast majority of good-natured social media users. Models should be confident in their abilities and their looks, as well as in the private life, so be the bigger person. Have a peak at one of MD’s blog’s

6. Is it getting serious? If trolling is escalating to the point that it’s having a negative impact on your life, tell a trusted friend or family member, or even let the police know about it. Harassment is harassment, whether it’s online or not. As with any kind of bullying, it shouldn’t be tackled alone. Speak up, and having people you trust is half the battle.

Stay safe out there in Virtual Land!