Taking the leap to blogging publicly can be a ‘scary’ thing. I remember when I first started feeling like blogging could be a great way to share and learn new ideas I was initially frozen by the thought of others not liking the content I was creating. It’s a natural reaction to be apprehensive about potential criticism. To be clear, it wasn’t the feedback that I was afraid of it was criticism. Some think of these things as one in the same, but really they aren’t. Feedback comes with the intended outcome of adding to or enhancing while criticism is typically an attempt to tear down. All you have to do is look at any comment section on a news article and it won’t take long to find someone’s diatribe on the merits of what the author created. In the world of the ‘interwebs’ these folks are generally known as trolls. They are usually commenting under anonymous accounts or aliases (this should tell you something about their motives right there) and come in a few different flavors:
The Know-it-all – This person presents themselves as the ‘end-all/be-all’ on the content that was just presented and proceeds to pick apart point-by-point the post. They aren’t interested in a discussion on the topic because in their mind they already have all the answers.
The Argument Baiter – This person typically resorts to generalizing and inflammatory name calling whether it be about race, religion, political orientation, etc. to light a fire in the comment section. They are similar to The Hijacker but they may actually relate their comments, at least vaguely, back to your original content.
The Hijacker – Based on this person’s comments you find yourself wondering if they even read the content. The reality is their motives were set by an internal bone to pick and they decided to use your unfortunate comment section as their personal battle ground.
The Sadist – This is probably the worst of the pack. It’s usually someone who quickly resorts to personal attacks on the author and has very little to directly say about the content presented. They are in it to purely hurt someone and derive pleasure when you or another reader gets defensive with them.
Anyone who has taken the leap of putting themselves out there has likely run into one or more of these characters. I know I have found myself trying to rein in my emotions when encountering one but the key is to never take the bait. The internet is like the wild west and we all have to realize that these types of people are out there. The best way to combat it is to keep carrying on and not play into their hands. The best learning and thought leadership is rooted in a collaborative spirit that doesn’t hesitate to share ideas and solicit constructive feedback. The more we do this as a whole the wiser we become collectively. So if you are on the sidelines wondering if you should venture into this medium of public thought sharing I encourage you to take the leap and don’t sweat the trolls. They will always be out there, but we can’t let them be a barrier to some potential great points of views being shared!