The word "troll" has been most commonly acquainted with the ugly, mythological creature who preyed on young children and billy goats. With the advancement of social media
, the term is now associated with a person who is much like this supernatural being — having an ugly attitude and roaming social platforms to prey on other users. Beware of the troll!
The financial services community is filled with highly credentialed, talented individuals who each have value propositions that are like them — unique. With so many different specialties, there are going to be, more often than not, times where ideas will be challenged. Disagreements do not make someone a troll. When a troll shows up to a legitimate dialogue of challenge, advisors start thinking, “You mean there are mean people online?” Yep.
Disagreements exist everywhere, especially on Facebook, Twitter and other places where ideas can be exchanged openly, making them vulnerable to anyone who wants to stir up a little heat. Having a constructive disagreement online is perfectly acceptable, provided it is done with respect and integrity. [Troll
enters from stage left.]
This special breed of social media user has their eyes wide open to find anything they can comment on to start an argument. Trolls make themselves feel great by lighting a fire and then dumping kerosene on it to make it explosive. The hotter the argument, the better the troll feels.
You will only be fanning this fire if you try to reason with a troll. The troll is not there to be reasoned with. Remember, they want to get this fire hotter, not extinguish it. If you respond, activity begets activity, and it just makes the troll work that much harder to get your blood pressure boiling.
The best way to deal with a troll? Ignore them. It pains me to even write those two words because I’m all about conversation in the social space. However, conversations should be meaningful
and transformational, not upsetting and erosive. The goal is to connect and grow with each other as professionals, not tear each other down.
Be aware that trolls exist. Ignore and avoid them to save yourself a lot of trouble.