Don’t Let the Trolls Discourage You from Writing
Shôn Ellerton, December 16, 2019
Never let the trolls put you down on your writings. They do not write. You do!
If you’re one of the very few who write longform articles (500 words or more), then congratulations. Seriously, give yourself a pat on the back. On LinkedIn, for example, less than 0.1% of subscribers have written one longform article. It’s no surprise that those who are consistent and write on a frequent basis are incredibly scarce indeed. Of all my friends and colleagues, I know of only one person who took up the challenge of writing longform articles, and interestingly, he is my only dyslexic friend.
The trolls want to get you!
In an earlier article I published, Don’t be Afraid to Write Your Own Articles, I summarise over 10 reasons why some of us are hesitant in writing and publishing their stories. Out of those, some want to write something but seem to never get around to doing it or simply not bothering. Most of us don’t wish to write longform articles and that’s fine with me and that’s, of course, how it should be. However, there are some out there who thrive on writing snidey and down-putting comments who never (in terms of what I’ve seen), publish their own material. Many of them don’t read the article but only the headlines. These are, of course, are known as trolls. And I’m not referring to those mythical ogrish ugly gnarly beasts preying on gnomes in deepest darkest Norway!
It doesn’t hurt to click the ‘like’ button
It’s a glowing feeling to receive the occasional comment who values your work. I do, likewise, as well. If I’ve read something I like, I click on the ‘Like’, ‘Clap’, ‘Upvote’ or whatever it is button. It really doesn’t take that long to do. Do I care what I ‘like’ turns up in my feed? Not really. However, most social media platforms have the option to hide what one likes in their feed. Perhaps the fear of AI infiltrating into what one likes will dictate what they will receive in their recommendations; however, just clicking the link to the article will start ‘setting a fear gears in motion’.
Write as many articles as you want
I’ve been writing longform articles since 2016 and close to reaching my 100th. I write on a wide variety of subjects, from those that I am an expert in, to those subjects I have a casual interest in with which I like to share my stories and opinions. I publish primarily on Medium and Linkedin, and then share through Twitter, Facebook and the Longreads group in the new social media platform, wt.social. I write purely for pleasure and do not monetise my writings. Some articles get thousands and thousands of views, whereas, some might struggle to get a dozen or so. It’s always an adventure.
Never ever let a comment from an internet troll dissuade you from writing new material for all of us to read. Look at this way, the very fact that you are receiving troll comments should encourage you to write even more!
It sometimes take courage to think out of the box
Now and again, I like to court controversy but when I do, I am extra careful on obtaining the facts relevant to the subject from various sources. Inciteful or hateful speech really should be avoided. One such article, There Will Be No More Climbing on Ayers Rock, generated thousands of views and hundreds of comments. I suspect many clicked on the ‘like’ button without reading the material because I found comments in the feed suggesting I was ‘fooling’ readers into clicking it. Surely, if the newspapers are permitted to do that, so am I! In this ‘contentious’ article, a 50/50 split of comments were favourable and those not. Bearing in mind that I took quite an objective approach bar one section in the article, many of the comments which were not favourable had absolutely no basis of fact or substance to them, but merely put there to state that I had no ‘respect’ or that I shouldn’t be posting them in the first place. Does not bother me in the slightest! And it shouldn’t do to you as well if you get trolled. A good response to trolls is to ask them to write an article in response, or as a retort, if you will. Chances are, they’ll shut up and leave you alone.
I really wish more of my friends and family started to write more in the way of longform articles, but it does require time and energy. Writing this article took me one hour, an hour I could have spent watching something on Netflix or commenting on social media posts. I have my share of fans and I have a regular pal on Facebook who’s quick to add a critical comment or two, never praising them or liking them. I take it as a compliment at the best of times.
In short, never let the trolls put you down on your writings. They are not writers. You are the writer! Most of them will never write or choose not to write. They are happy to criticise at their earliest convenience and many will never back down to a sensible resolution of your debate with them. Trolls like to be fed and there’s usually no way of winning a debate with them.
Basically, don’t feed ‘em, but keep on writin’!