Don't Entertain Them For Free

One of the greatest tools we have is analytics. Oh I'm an analytic fanatic! If there is a way to measure it, I will, and I will do it often. I have learned such valuable information about my customers, fans, and yes even biggest trolls just by studying the analytics. When social media first became popular, it entered most of our lives as an entertaining hobby. We were entertained by the posts we read; and we reciprocated with entertaining posts of our own.
People share so many facets of their lives from births, to childhood memories, to hopes and dreams, to even deaths. As the months and years rolled on, platforms like Facebook became the repository for the presentation and representation of our lives. Somehow along the way the idea of trolling leapt from the physical world into the digital world. People could anonymize themselves and become someone else. Even worse, they could multiply the anonymity and present themselves as a legion of people for better or for worse.
More than 1 Billion people are active on Facebook
More than 100 Milliion people activley use Instagram each month
More than 260 Million people use Twitter each month, 69 million in the US
Enter into the realm of combining marketing concepts with the evolution of trolling. Groups began to form using advanced concepts of SEO with the technological "gifts" of multiplication. Suddenly an opinion could be elevated and integrated into our timelines as if it was the gospel truth. Yes the great tools of social media began to be used against us even in the simplest ways through what we view on our timelines.
And then people got into the game. Using the data available to us all publicly (physical characteristics, the connection to other people and relationship networks, etc.) to form an opinion about someone else. Stringing together words filled with triviality, that may never be stated directly to the person's face. Yes the world jumped into the trolling game full force through social media platforms and under the guise of "free speech". It was destined for things to get out of hand quickly. All of a sudden, social media became weaponized and subtweeting was a real thing. The irony is that subcommunication has always been a "thing". The difference is that now the world could see it, respond, join the band wagon, or form in protest of.
To the troll, the world seemed smaller, and yet felt bigger. The troll felt as if they were "telling the world", when in fact they only had 40 active followers even if they bought 2500. LOL. That's laughable but seriously, that's what the foundation of most trolls rests on - a small legion of boom that is entertained by troll behaviors.
I periodically take inventory of my own social media posts and ask some very fundamental questions about the root of the posts:
  1. Why did (or should) this post matter?
  2. Will this connect to my business goals and objectives?
  3. Could the world have lived without this post?
I adopted this mentality for one main reason:
I refuse to entertain people with misguided social media posts for free (or at all)
It is so easy to fall into a pattern of posting to show off or show up someone else. Luckily I can say I've never gone that far. But have I chosen to time posts for the trolls? YES guilty as charged.
It is human nature to tell people to 'back up' when you feel they've overstepped their bounds with you.
In reality... what does your commentary really do to a troll? It feeds them. Trolls do what they do to get attention, to get a rise out of you. Your response feeds the troll, and they continue. In the end, you've performed for free and probably were entertaining for free. And those business goals and objectives, they either remained stagnant, or you pushed yourself further away from achieving your dreams.
If your goal in life is to shut down the haters, it's time for you to select bigger goals.
Making a hater "shut up" is such a small goal contrived by small-minded thinking.
I look out every single day and I see the promise of a better society with my help, not because of my social media entertainment. I cannot be the person I am while battling Twitter trolls, there's not enough room in life for both.
So I Ask You
  1. Why did (or should) this post matter?
  2. Will this connect to your business goals and objectives?
  3. Could the world have lived without this post?
Be big enough in your thinking and your mindset to know that you are bigger than the trolls from the beginning. You stooping to respond to a troll makes for entertainment and is probably costly to your own brand.
Keep your goals and dreams in front of you and you'll be so blinded by the achievement of goals, you won't even see the trolling.
History shows us that court jesters entertained because they were showcasing the best of what they had to offer. Allow your goals to be bigger and better than that of a court jester. Bottom-line, don't entertain other people for free.

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