I spend a lot of time online in my social media networks such as LinkedIn and Facebook – and especially the groups. Sometimes I get to know people in a way that is disturbing our ’in real life’ (IRL) relationship.
You see, I have to read snotty comments made by mini-trolls to follow what’s happening in the groups… and as you know when nobody stops a mini-troll from writing snotty comments they continue and their snot is suddenly all over us. Here I am not talking about internet trolls hiding behind a fake identity. No, I’m talking about people who use their real identify and I now call them mini-trolls.
If we were having the same conversation IRL someone would have told them to go and blow their nose somewhere else. And in the UK you would have said: ‘I beg you pardon, the toilet is over there…’
These people are clearly suffering from snotty comments syndrome. It’s as if they can’t help but share their snot publicly on posts in social media. Their comments can be sarcastic, painful to read, cynical or it might take the message in the post out of context.
This kind of mini-hate can be both hurtful and harmful, and I’ve seen people who are acquaintances, friends of friends and people outside my networks doing it many times. It seems to be a pretty big problem online.
When someone says something nice and kind we tend to forget it, it doesn’t really stick for long, but snotty comments we remember forever and there is no way to delete them from our memory, even if the comment itself is deleted online. Okay, if you make one rude comment, as we have all done, you are forgiven. But when you have made a few we put you in the category of “annoying mini-trolls”.
The experts’ view
I asked Mihaela Stroe, PhD in nonverbal communication, for her view and she said:
‘Even though we communicate more online now, the basic rules of human communication apply there too. In real life you will meet people who make rude comments and you have several ways to stay away from them. Online you have the same right, you can use your personal power to disconnect with online rudeness. My tip is to stick with people (and comments) that make you grow, not with those who make you feel low. And remember: online communication is still the same as real life: – you have the power to be a great communicator, or to be a lousy one‘.
…online communication is still the same as real life: – you have the power to be a great communicator, or to be a lousy one‘.
I also had the chance to speak to celebrity psychotherapist Marisa Peer about why people make rude comments online and she says:
‘It’s all about power, all relationships in life are about power and if you feel as if you have no power you think you can get some and embellish yourself by diminishing other people. People who are happy and at peace with themselves would never behave like that.’
…all relationships in life are about power…
5 snotty comments protection tips:
To give mini-trolls a package of tissues might not be enough to get them stop blowing their nose online, but I can share some tips with those of you who are exposed to their snot.
1) Mini-trolls have issues with themselves, they are not happy. Their aim is to gain a higher status by making other people feel low. When you read a snotty comment just keep calm and remember that it says more about them than about you.
2) If you read a rude comment added late at night the mini-troll who wrote it might have been drunk and not entirely sure of what they wrote – when you are drunk you don’t have a “safety filter” in your head, or at least not the same kind of filter as when you are sober.
3) We all have different boundaries. I was once very active in a group on LinkedIn in which a male member felt compelled to make a snotty comment about almost everyone’s posts. Maybe he thought he could change people’s view of a subject by doing this. What happened in this case is that I blocked him on LinkedIn. We used to be connected, but why should we be when we have very little in common? If we were hanging out IRL I would have left the conversation or asked him to shut up – so I brought the rules of normal life online.
4) You can try to be sarcastic and just say that you totally agree with a snotty comment (most people will understand that you are being sarcastic), or say that that is a smart point of view, or just say “WOW!!!”.
5) You can also choose to be silent. This is a powerful way to show that you are above these kinds of comments and won’t stoop to the same low level of communication.
Karma and snot
One last point: if you “like” someone’s snotty comment, that person’s karma and snot is reflected onto you and who you are. So liking and agreeing with snotty comments might be as hurtful as making them.
Be nice. Be kind. Be helpful. In that way we can create an online world we will all want to be a part of.
Thank you, Sofie
Download 13 tips how to protect yourself from internet trolls and other nasty people online.