twitter facebook stumble upon rss

Dealing with Internet Trolls

sign up for the momlogic newsletter Tweet This

Guest blogger Lisa Frame: Losing a child is quite possibly the hardest thing in the world a parent will ever go through. When they lose that child and are then subjected to bullying, it's even worse. This past week, the child of someone who goes by the Twitter name fierceandfiesty left this world at 7 weeks old. If I had my druthers, I would not discuss the cause of death in this post. I don't know fierceandfiesty and didn't follow her on Twitter. However, as I was sipping my morning coffee, a tweet came across my stream, asking for prayers for this family. So, after a quick prayer, I went back to sipping. Then the tweets really started rolling out -- including one that caused me to become incensed.

dealing with internet trolls
The cause of this child's death is not important. What concerns me, as well as so many others in the social-media community and world at large, is the bullying that this mother is now experiencing via social-media channels. People are telling her that because she chose for her son to have a standard (but optional) hospital procedure while he was under sedation for a different procedure, the extra step killed her son. Instead of being supported, she has been damned. What could have been a chance to offer open arms of support and tell her story in a form of advocacy has been destroyed.

I talked with someone I consider an expert at dealing with cyberbullies, Cecily Kellogg from Uppercase Woman. Bullied after losing her twins at nearly six months' gestation to severe preeclampsia, and almost losing her own life, Cecily has experienced the online wrath of many. I wondered what she would advise fierceandfiesty about coping with the backlash. "I would tell her it isn't personal, that people are evil and she should ignore it," said Cecily. "Then I'd hug her and let her cry because that never works. It IS personal, it HURTS and you cannot possibly ignore it. It's ... all you think about because it is distracting you from the pain and agony and grief. It's much easier to burn with a hot blue flame of anger than be drenched in grief."

I also wondered, does an experience like this change you as a blogger? What do you do when the people you share your life with come out against you, when you need their support more than ever before? "It made me both braver and more scared," said Cecily. "I'm alternately defiant, at peace, sobbing in a corner or flagellating myself because I worry if the people saying nasty things are right. I'm dealing with bullying now, on a non-grief front [about money], and it makes me crazy how much I let it get to me."

I just haven't known quite how to approach the topic of Internet bullying and pondered all weekend about how to do it tactfully. However, it is a topic that needs covering. There are bullies in blogging and social media, just like the ones you heard about -- or were harassed by -- during your school years. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some are small bullies trying to get their names out there. Others are big bullies using their blogs and social-media connections to make you feel like you are irrelevant and they are larger, and therefore better, than you. Either way, they do everything they can to belittle you and knock down your self-esteem. It's either going to anger or hurt you. Generally, it does both. Words spoken are eventually forgotten most of the time, and if you are more Zen in mindset, they're let go of easily. Funnel those same words into a blog or various social media, and those words are there permanently.

Internet bullies always go after the ones they perceive weakness in, damning them in a medium that no eraser can remove. We use our blogs and Twitter as platforms for our voices. Sure, it's a little narcissistic; however, we all have something to say and should be allowed to express our freedom of speech without people trying to quash us with their dislike. People no longer want conversation or even debate; they want conflict. In the online world, the ease of typing up a comment and hitting "send" doesn't allow us the opportunity to actually think. There is a consequence for every action, whether immediate or delayed. People might want to say, "Well, you are attacking people by writing about this matter." Actually, I'm not. What this is about is bringing attention to my fellow bloggers about the increase in online bullies.

Believe me, I have stories that go back a long way. I've been doing this since 2002, and it's all the same. People want their 15 minutes of fame and will trample over whomever to get there. They are still just as relevant. However, when that time comes, instead of attacking, maybe they should take a look at their blogs. Have they lost readers? Do they find themselves increasingly bitter? Are their social-media platforms a tool they are using to build relationships and community, or are they an outlet to "x" number of people to find sympathy or seek validity? I don't know. However, there are some things that are important to remember before you bully:

1) Social-media moms stick together, take up for each other and come to each others' defense.
2) Your followers are going to feel like you are starring in "Mean Girls." We all know what has happened to Lindsay Lohan ....
3) Conference planners, PR professionals and companies are going to stop calling you. That is not the attitude they want representing their brand.
4) Karma: The total effect of a person's actions and conduct during the successive phases of the person's existence, regarded as determining the person's destiny. It will also bite you faster than a hungry doberman.
5) Eventually, all the negativity is going to affect you personally. Once you get trapped, it's difficult to get out. Not only does it become detrimental to your brand, but to you personally. 6) Bullies are generally perceived as people with lack of impulse control.

What should you do if you encounter a bully? I would love to say that you take them out at the kneecaps, but using their tactics is just going to make you look like a bigger bully. Here are a few simple steps that many have told me they found helpful:

1) Follow the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
2) Kill them with kindness. It's hard; you want to fight back. Don't.
3) Ignorance is bliss. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: If you ignore something long enough, it will eventually go away. It's a dating tactic that has worked for years. Remember the guy hitting on you that you wished would go away?
4) Love yourself. Just because someone else dares to say something, do not take it personally. Hold your head up high and stick to your chosen path.
5) Don't lose sight of your goal. It's easy to displace your vision, voice and focus when consumed and distracted by negative emotion.
6) Laugh at yourself. This lifestyle is a public one, and with it comes issues that are quite serious. Make a nutty vlog, podcast or write an ode. My most recent one was to my fan. It was silly, but lightened my mood immediately.
7) Have a confidante, someone who is not going to turn into a bully for you, but who will talk you off of the proverbial ledge and help you regain your sense of humor. I will never name mine, but they are there when I need them and help me stay sane.

Bullies can learn to change their behavior by watching others treat people fairly and with respect. If they learn to use their power in positive ways, bullies can change. In the end, whether bullies decide to change their ways is up to them. Some bullies turn into great people, while some never learn.

My final question to Cecily was to ask her, "Has your perception of social media changed?" "It's so heavily positive -- I mean, for every negative comment I get, there are 500 positive ones -- that I cannot imagine thinking it would change it all for me," she said. "There is only one time I thought about taking all my marbles and going home, and it wasn't a troll or griefer attack [griefers are trolls who are obsessed with making one particular person's life miserable], but another blogger I loved and respected. Luckily, a blogger I loved and respected even more talked me off the ledge. In general, I get so much from my online life I wouldn't dream of giving it up."

Lisa Frame lives on the outskirts of Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband and 10-year-old son. She is a social-media-consulting, blog-branding, picture-book-writing, cupcake-connoisseuring, lip-gloss-wearing, retro-loving wine enthusiast. An avid reader, photographer and coffee addict, Lisa also has a knack for coming up with fun ideas for moms and kids, cooking memorable meals (some for the wrong reasons), living as green as possible and blogging about whatever comes to mind over at A Daily Pinch and Mommyality.

*This blog post was referred to momlogic by: Baby Clothes Boutique


next: Halloween Party Must-Have: Cupcake Sleeves!
66 comments so far | Post a comment now
Roofing Philadelphia April 4, 2011, 5:33 PM

This really solved my problem, thank you!

Vad är Psykoterapi April 4, 2011, 11:19 PM

Yay google is my king aided me to find this outstanding site! .

Audrey O. Woodward April 5, 2011, 7:00 AM

Hi, - stumbled on this webpage accidentally whilst drifting across the internet this afternoon, and pleased that I did! I like the design and style and different shades, but I should point out that I’m having trouble when it loads. I’m using iCab 4 browser for mac, and the menu bit would not lineup well. i am convinced I have used precisely the same layout on a client’s website, but the menu seems O.k on mine. I suspect the mistake is with my browser & I reckon that it is time to change for a better one!

scrapebox April 5, 2011, 1:55 PM

Hello. Thank you for posting this!

eve online April 5, 2011, 3:40 PM

I have recently started a website, the info you offer on this website has helped me greatly. Thanks for all of your time & work.

carpet cleaners April 5, 2011, 9:20 PM

Thanks for some good points there. I am kind of new to online , so I printed this off to put in my file, any better way to go about keeping track of it then printing?

BMW performance April 5, 2011, 9:37 PM

@Markus I get your drift on where you were going there. I often think of my past and use it as a means to analyze where I am and where I want to get to. Where I struggel is balancing it all out. How do you guys balance things out?

customizable t-shirts April 6, 2011, 5:59 AM

Excellent issues?I would note that as somebody who in point of fact doesn’t write on blogs a lot (in fact, this may be my first post), I don’t suppose the time period ‘lurker’ is very turning into to a non-posting reader. It’s not your fault in the slightest degree , however perhaps the blogosphere could get a hold of a better, non-creepy identify for the 90% of us that experience studying the content .

SolarPanelSystems April 6, 2011, 10:27 AM

Bless you a lot for submitting this!

Concrete Sealer April 6, 2011, 1:24 PM

Thanks for the good writeup. It in reality used to be a enjoyment account it. Glance advanced to far added agreeable from you! However, how can we keep in touch?

artiklar April 6, 2011, 11:47 PM

Wohh just what I was searching for, thankyou for posting .

BioBasics April 7, 2011, 1:32 AM

Please message me with a few hints about how you made this site look this awesome, I’d be thankful.

contemporary art paintings new york April 7, 2011, 5:27 AM

What you do is great - but more frequent updates, please?

lentilles de contact April 7, 2011, 6:37 PM

I don’t even know how I stopped up right here, however I assumed this post was once good. I don’t recognize who you might be but definitely you are going to a well-known blogger in the event you are not already ;) Cheers!

links directory April 7, 2011, 11:24 PM

Extraordinary this put up is totaly unrelated to what I was looking google for, however it was listed at the first page. I assume your doing something proper if Google likes you adequate to position you at the first web page of a non related search.

Ephedrin April 8, 2011, 4:06 AM

Moin! Ich bin über Google zu deinem Internet-Tagebuch gestoßen und will auch eine Anregung hinterlassen. Mir gefällt das Layout ausgesprochen gut und ich werde bereitwillig in Bälde zurückkommen. Ich fände es toll, wenn dir dir auch meine Website zum Thema Ephedrine angucken würdest. Ephedrin Kapseln sind der stärkste Fatburner für fixe Fettverbrennung. Besten Dank und alles Gute für die Zukunft!

Pv Solar Cells April 8, 2011, 10:41 AM

Thanks so much for posting this!

frostwire April 8, 2011, 10:58 AM

Hi there, I just hopped over to your website online by the use of StumbleUpon. Now not one thing I’d most often read, however I favored your emotions none the less. Thank you for making one thing worth reading.

silver bullion bars April 8, 2011, 11:40 PM

It’s actually a cool and helpful piece of information. I am glad that you simply shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

belvedere homes for sale April 9, 2011, 4:50 AM

This is a good posting, I was wondering if I could use this write-up on my website, I will link it back to your website though. If this is a problem please let me know and I will take it down right away


Back to top >>
advertisement