The word Troll has had many meanings over the years. Where I grew up in Michigan, those in the Upper Peninsula called those who lived under the Mackinac Bridge (Lower Peninsula), Trolls. To Troll downtown, meant to “check it out.” Trolling is also a method of fishing. Do you remember the Troll dolls? I have had hair days like that. Fast forward… now there is a new meaning… a Troll is someone who makes nasty comments on social media.
Jason Goes to Target
My wonderful friend Jason Hewlett wrote a blog about seeing his wife at Target, not realizing it was her and falling for her all over again. The opener on his Facebook post was priceless: he explains that he saw this gorgeous woman while he was shopping and felt like he was cheating on his wife… only to realize it was her! It was such a beautiful and honest open love letter to his wife that was shared all over the place, going viral with more than 145k shares. Ironically, his wife doesn’t often go on Facebook, and he suspected she’d never even see the post unless he told her about it.
Cue the Haters
But something happened. This beautiful story abruptly goes sideways! Suddenly total strangers begin posting mean-spirited comments. What’s not to love here? Why would anyone do this?!? Somehow I got caught up reading these awful comments amongst the supportive and kind remarks. Have you ever read a story, then gone down the wormhole, reading all the comments? I felt so downtrodden — like I’d just discovered that the world is a harsh and cruel place, populated by venomous people with poison in their hearts.
My friends Jon and Owen’s crazy juggling act, The Passing Zone, made it to the semi-finals of America’s Got Talent. Talented performers and amazing human beings they are. Once again, the Trolls rear their ugly (probably non-talented) heads.
What’s up with this crazy?! Apparently, the feeling of being anonymous gives these Trolls an odd sense of power. These are the same people who are probably in terrible relationships or are alone in their parents’ basements feeling miserable. I had to sit on my hands not to defend my friends against these haters, because I know deep down that I will not change the minds of any of these people. Politics anyone?
Kindness is the New Black
The truth is that hurt people want to hurt people. Loved people want to love on people. Whenever you see these nasty comments from Trolls, do not engage. I repeat, do not engage. Just make sure you don’t add fuel to the fire. Think before you click. Ask yourself, “Is what I am about to say kind, helpful or supportive?” Do not feed the Trolls. Starve them.
Let’s face it. The world needs fewer critics and more cheerleaders. Go Team Kindness!