Whether you’re starting your own YouTube channel or creating a standout Instagram profile, social media trolls can definitely put a damper on your online experience. NYC-based therapist Kimberly Hershenson believes that online hate may cause more serious damage to one’s mental health than in-person interactions. “When rude comments or bullying are online, and you are looking at social media at home or at work, it can be even worse because it is happening to you in a place you should feel safe.” Online comments live forever, so you and your followers can reread them over and over again and be caught in a very unhealthy cycle. In an effort to equip our fellow #girlbosses with everything they need to slay their social media life, we tapped a few mental health and social media experts to give us their top tips for shaking off online trolls.
1. Don’t reread nasty comments. The really unfortunate thing about receiving online hate is that you have the ability to relive the message over and over again. Hershenson advises us to only allow ourselves to read hateful comments once. “[Rereading mean comments] will only lead to obsession and further anger,” she says.
2. Make a 30-second rule. Most people’s first response when they see an online troll is to fire back with everything they’ve got. “After you’ve written something but before you post it, step away from the computer or phone for 30 seconds,” Hershenson suggests. “When you come back, look at the message you wrote and ask yourself how you’d feel if someone wrote this to you.”
3. Focus on the positive feedback. “Chances are the good comments and interactions far outweigh the negative ones,” says Erin Motz, Bad Yogi co-founder, who has *definitely* dealt with her fair share of internet trolls. “Focus your energy on appreciating the positive things people say rather than pouring all your energy into obsessing over WHY someone said something nasty. Easier said than done, I know, but trust me — it’s time much better spent.”
4. Surround yourself with a supportive community. “It can be easy to get wrapped up in the endless void of negativity that is the internet,” says Elizabeth Benson, October June lifestyle blogger. “But if you can create a community of people that appreciate and accept you, you’ll always have a positive corner of the internet.”
5. Unplug and unwind. If the hateful comments are taking a serious toll on your mental health, it may be a good idea to go offline for a little while. “Take a walk outside, check out a new coffee shop in your town, play with your dog, or go shopping with your friends,” Benson advises. “Taking some time in the real world will be seriously refreshing — and reminds you how many people love you, online and off!”
6. Know your hashtags. If you know that you are sensitive to internet trolls, you may want to avoid tagging your social media posts with certain hashtags, says Miranda Romero, Pretty Girl Makeup public relations manager. “Try to stay away from #likeforlike or #followforfollow types of hashtags, as many internet trolls feed off these posts,” she warns.
7. If nothing else works, delete and block. Instead of engaging in a hate-fueled thread, delete troll posts as soon as you see them. “Nobody needs this negativity on their social platforms — especially if it’s untrue, spiteful, or libelous,” Romero says. “Block these users to ensure they do not bring any more negativity to your brand!”
How do you deal with social media trolls? Tweet us @BritandCo!