The podcast industry is not immune or exempt from online trolls. As a podcaster's fame and stardom raises, so will the hate, the negativity, and the trolls. Trolls have the power to stop us in our tracks and question everything that we're doing and our reasons behind why we do what we do. Not all of us can brush it off with such 'elegance' as Tony Montana from the movie Scarface. Some of us already come with tough skin when we enter into the industry, but there's a majority of us who are still struggling with the darker side of the internet and the anonymous faces that attack us.
The Psychology of a Troll
According to Psychology Today, people who enjoy spending their past time creating conflict and being a troll are sadists, narcissists, and psychopaths. In other words, they're just horrible people who derive pleasure from seeing people upset and hurt. A youth charity survey of 2,000 teen participants noted that 40% of abusive messages were aimed directly at the victim’s physical appearance and 16% at their religion or race.
Trolls Are Costly
Trolls distract you from the bigger picture and also take a great deal of your energy away from your brand, if you let them. However, trolls are much more damaging to your brand than you might think. These internet jerks have the ability to influence people's opinions, even when those people know a lot about the subject being discussed. This is according to an online experiment conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Science Daily reports, “The financial costs associated with victimization, which could include legal fees, property damage, child care costs, moving expenses or a change in phone number, were also much higher for cyberstalking victims, with an average dollar value of more than $1,200 spent compared to about $500 for traditional stalking victims.” This study was conducted almost two years ago, so the average costs have undoubtedly become greater.
Do Not Feed The Trolls
We all know falling into a discussion with a troll will lend you no where positive. People say, “Don't feed the troll, man.” And to 'just ignore them'. Although this advice is pretty sound, it's almost impossible to practice. When you ignore the negative, you also ignore the positive. Is this the best solution we can come up with? Not feeding the troll also doesn't help you cope and give you the necessary tough skin you need in order to get through your day after reading a nasty comment about your appearance or ethic background. What are we suppose to do?
The change starts from within. Although a rather cheesy and cliche way to begin a sentence, it's true. Trolls will not stop their harassment towards you and there's only so much you can do to protect yourself from them without being isolated from everyone. To build a tougher resistance against these people, practice being grateful about the positive things in your life, build a support system of friends and family that encourage you to push forward, and understand that your weaknesses and insecurities will grow into strengths. Trolls have a very good knack at targeting the things you feel most insecure about, so work on accepting your weaknesses and fixing your insecurities on your own time.
As additional reading material, I strongly courage reading this article about a woman confronting her troll and e.g. 'feeding the troll'.
Podfly is a pre and post production company that caters specifically to podcasts and the people behind them. We help edit your show, spice up the audio quality, and we even create detailed show notes for iTunes and Stitcher Radio. Feel free to contact me personally at Ayn@podfly.net or go to the contact page!
Until next time,