What is an Internet Troll?

The word “troll” is an Internet slang term denoting someone who tries to provoke an emotional response or disrupt the flow of conversation in an online community. Trolling can be done in online discussion forums, chat rooms, blogs, or other social media outlets. Since trolls are purposefully controversial and often post offensive or harassing messages, they can be more than a nuisance to small business owners trying to create a safe place to network or engage with their clients.

There are many examples of trolling throughout the Internet, and the messages they promote can be quite explicit or hurtful. Although they can offend many people, trolls like to extract the emotional response, and, unfortunately, there are organizations that help trolls access sites from which they’ve been banned.

Trolls and Small Businesses

In your small business’ Web site, you may choose to engage in a social media blog to promote your business and give your readers brief snippets of information on topics in your trade. Unfortunately, trolls may decide to try their tactics in the comments section of your blog.

If you have been trolled, follow the popular abbreviation “DNFTT,” or Do Not Feed The Trolls. The best method to rid yourself of a troll is to remain calm, do not have an emotional response to their posts, and simply block them. Although this may seem passive aggressive, it is clearly the best way to deal with an individual who simply wants an emotional response. They can’t achieve their goal if you ignore them.

Trolling can become a serious issue when you or your users actively engage in protest of the troll’s comments. Remember to simply block their access to your site, and eventually the troll will become uninterested in the lack of response and move on. Your problem will solve itself.