gerund or present participle: trolling
make a deliberately offensive or provocative online post with the aim of upsetting someone or eliciting an angry response from them.
I have made a conscious decision to stop arguing about politics with people on social media. This doesn't mean I won't engage in civil discourse, it means I will not engage in uncivil discourse. The truth is if someone is attacking me or my values, they are not interested in my opinion or in the truth, they are interested in shouting me down to make themselves feel better. The tone has been set by the incoming administration, but we do not have to follow it. Time spent getting angry and arguing is time I could spend on other more productive things like working on my book, researching and writing for this site, calling my representatives, educating people through sharing real news, being a beacon of light in an increasingly dark reality, or plucking my chin hairs. (Just checking to see if you're paying attention.)
"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." Voltaire
I will not share any negative posts, leave comments on these posts, or give them even a moment of my time or attention. This takes a will of steel sometimes. I am a quick witted smarty pants with a sarcastic sense of humor. Sometimes we have to fight against our natural impulses for the greater good and our own sanity. By commenting on and sharing negative posts or asking other people to visit these pages and leave comments, we are empowering negativity. Ignore them. Nothing makes a troll go back to their bridge faster than a lack of attention. But wait, you say, this is my old friend from high school or my co-worker or my cousin, they are not a troll! Anyone can become a troll when they post inflammatory comments designed to elicit an angry response from you. Unfollow or if they insist on attacking you on your page, delete, block, exhale. Incendiary statements are designed to attract us like moths to a flame. They are designed to bait us into saying horrible things. Don't be baited. Don't comment, share, retweet, repost, or engage. Pay attention to the big picture, not The Big Lie and the millions of minions it has recently spawned. Show them the light and the truth by being a shining example of civility, kindness, transparency, and awareness. Turn the other cheek.
Not that cheek.
Wish them love, walk away.
“When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses … the (actual) truth will seem utterly preposterous and the speaker (of the actual truth), a raving lunatic." Dresdan James
Support your friends when they are under attack by reminding them that they do not owe abusive people their time, attention, or a public platform for their negativity. Channel your inner Sweet Brown, "Ain't nobody got time for that." Even ordinarily nice people can say and do abusive things when they are driven by the politics of fear. I have been deeply disappointed to read the things old friends and even family members have said online that directly reflect their opinion of me and my values. However, this is a reflection on them, not me. It is only a reflection on me if I respond. They can keep that glass of haterade they just poured, no thanks.
I am going to respond thoughtfully, you say! I'll combat them with my brilliant argument, links to real news sources, and copious amounts of logic! How has that worked for you so far? No amount of passionate, heartfelt, beautifully written responses will sway the minds of people who post hateful, divisive rhetoric. Don't feed them. Starve them. Nothing is more powerful than indifference to people who are begging for attention. Had the media taken this approach with DJT, he would never have been elected. Negativity and vitriol are contagious, seductive. Think of how much power one bad thing can have on a good day if we allow it. Every small act of kindness, every moment of good can empower us if we allow it. We get that upon which we focus, stay focused on the good things. The more we stay in the light, the less power the darkness has over us.
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." Eleanor Roosevelt
We do not have to become that which we despise, but the choice is entirely ours.
PS: Need ideas on productive ways to spend time currently being wasted arguing with people on the internet? Here are some.
Know your national representatives and stay up to date on bills, committees and day to day activities:
United States House of Representatives
United States Senate
To stay informed of their voting records, top campaign contributors, and get detailed summaries of bills that help navigate the legalese:
Know your state representatives and their contact information on your state government website. Every state has one. (Google it.)
Get involved with your local government. Find the website for your local township, figure out when there are public meetings and attend. (Google it.)
Read these articles:
How to Stay Outraged Without Losing Your Mind
10 Actions/100 Days
What Do I Do About Trump?
How to Take Action-and Stay Sane-in the Trump Era
What to Do About Trump? The Same Thing My Grandfather did in 1930s Vienna.
What Can I Do to Help During a Trump Presidency?
How to Survive and Resist in the Trump Era: Practical Things You Can Do Now
Nine Ways to Oppose Donald Trump
How to Leak to ProPublica
Read this book: The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't
Support writers like me who are writing articles like this by sharing, commenting, and coming back.