A wise internet person once said, “Don’t look at the bottom half of the internet- it’s where the bad things are.”
This of course refers to the comments section of most webpages where the best and worst of internet humanity can come across. My friend Claire has a habit of reading the comments of news articles and calling me to tell me how ignorant/stupid/obnoxious people are, to which my response goes something along the lines of “STOP READING THE COMMENTS!” Another individual has equated reading the commentary of the internet as a form of self-harm.
Part of what makes internet commentary so unbearable are the ‘trolls’ that run around, typing incendiary comments and sucking otherwise rational individuals into pointless internet arguments that have no solution. Everyone ends up frustrated and mad while the troll giggles away in their chair, off to cause more mayhem somewhere else.
“Don’t feed the troll” is a common phrase tapped out on keyboards around the world on a daily (hourly?) basis. This phrase reminds those who lurk in the bad corners of the internet to not get sucked into a useless conversation with a troll- to remember that everyone on the internet is human, no matter what junk they are spilling.
I have two colleagues at work who ‘troll’ each other like siblings often do, pushing the buttons they know will inspire a reaction in the other. I have had to explain (many times) the idea of not feeding the troll; the arguments stop when you stop engaging in a relationship/conversation/situation that is a waste of time.
Some arguments are worth having and some convictions and ideas are worth fighting about. Lest I reveal my internal Colorado stoner too much by promoting a brand of ‘let’s just all get along, man….’ I’ll leave it at this: don’t feed the troll, don’t give others ammunition to suck you into things that are a waste of time and don’t matter.
Unfortunately this same concept comes into play in our personal lives, too. Trolls exist in the forms of family members, friends, coworkers, and significant others sometimes. Short story: keep the people in your life who make you feel beautiful, strong, and supported. Seek out experiences that make you beautiful, strong, and supported for yourself. Trolls come through trying to destroy what you’ve built, online or in ‘real life’- don’t engage with them, and don’t give them power. Walk away and spent your time and energy on better things.
Don’t feed the troll.
(Sometimes they live under bridges, like this one)