I have blogged about this most of unsavoury subjects in the past, but it seems cyberbullying is reaching epidemic proportions these days.
Most of us follow social etiquette in real life if we want to fit in with the culture in our environment, but there are those that turn into little monsters when it comes to dealing with people through social media. These sick, pathetic individuals have a tendency to use social media to really let it rip, no matter what the consequences. I could understand this if they were provoked and they wanted to somehow defend themselves (although this doesn't really work too well either); but to tear someone to shreds when there is no provocation--well, that's another thing entirely.
Bullying, whether in real life or through social media should carry ZERO tolerance. Coming from a corporate background involving employee relations I've fired many people for bullying behaviour in the workplace. Abuse is abuse, no matter what you call it.
So how do you deal with a cyberbully who chooses to hide behind their computer or Smartphone because they don't have the balls to show you their real face? This type is the most coward bully of them all--an individual that hides behind avatars and secrecy for their own ends--mainly to bully others on social media. I call these people trolls.
Wikipedia defines a troll as a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people by posting inflammatory, extraneous or off-topic messages in an online community with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussions.
In my opinion, a troll is a cyberbully without a life of their own. And if you're wondering what a troll looks like, the answer is: Like anybody. They come in all shapes and sizes. But I'd like to think of them as per the pics below:
Why am I re-posting about trolls? Well, it all started with a few tweets I read from actor James Woods. Mr Woods, like many of us, is an interactive and prolific Twitter(er) and he expresses an opinion on many topics. Nothing wrong with that, right? I follow his tweets because I'm interested in what he's got to say. He tweets a lot about politics and even though I don't live in the US--hence I don't understand much about American politics--I still have an interest in many of the things Mr Woods has to say.
Unfortunately, my enjoyment of Mr Woods' tweets are usually marred by many cowardly creatures that dedicate their energy to wasting other people's time and enjoyment in using social media.
Let's face it, trolls are tedious, terrible and tormenting creatures with little minds and no imagination who should really get out there and do something constructive with their lives for a change instead of making ours a misery.
My opinions are my own, just as Mr Woods' opinions are his--and you, the reader, also have an opinion that you may wish to express. Now, you may or may not agree with what I say, what Mr Woods says, or what someone else says, but there is absolutely no need to start acting like an exorcist-type entity--one that often uses words that half the time they cannot even spell.
I quite enjoy the way Mr Woods deals with cyberbullies or trolls; he simply shakes them like water off a duck's back and blocks them with a witty comment and the hashtag #INSTABLOCK.
I recently joined discussions on Twitter about a common topic the people in this thread share, but in the short time I've been tweeting in this thread I've had the misfortune to come across a few very strange individuals; two of which have abused me for no good reason. And by the way, trolls should understand that if they tweet or post something on a public forum they should expect other people to interact with their tweets/posts. Therefore, if your tweet/post is for a particular person you, the troll, should message them privately and not on an open forum. Duh!
Well, since these most unfortunate incidents of bullying occurred I've taken a page from Mr Woods' effective way of dealing with trolls and I used the #INSTABLOCK hashtag to get rid of them and their rubbish and bullying comments.
My final message to all trolls (cyberbullies) out there is clearly depicted in the cartoon below.
On a last note, I'd like to thank Mr Woods for inspiring such a great way to get rid of these waste of cyberspace individuals.
Author Sylvia Massara's: