Don’t try to win over haters. You’re not the Jackass Whisperer. ~Scott Stratten, @unmarketing
June 11, 2011, I spent a full day with some of the best of the best of London, Ontario at Podcamp London 11 held at The Research Park. For those of you that don’t know, a Podcamp is described as:
… an open community for new and social media enthusiasts and professionals including bloggers, podcasters, social networkers, and anyone curious about new media to share and learn.
Some of the folks that were running the event & attending, I have been twitter friends with for a while, and that day I met a number of other tweeple that I have been following for a while, but hadn’t yet had a chance to meet IRL. This was my first Podcamp and I had heard such great things from others that I wanted to ensure that I took the day to fully participate and I was not disappointed; well, mostly…
I loved learning about Podcasting 101 from @billdeys, watching the unbot in action, and I fully agree with @jclarkey about how you can Schedule for Good using Twitter (sorry @unmarketing, but there is a way to be authentic and efficient and effective). The talks were diverse, some fully polished, some not so, but the speakers that I listened to were earnest and open to sharing their knowledge and points of view.
And then, the trolls reared their ugly heads.
A group of four white, privileged, bigoted, misogynistic boys that called themselves “podcasters” (I guess you can call yourself a podcaster when you have 11 followers…?) started their “radio show” of sorts, which was really just an excuse to showcase just how white, privileged, bigoted and misogynistic they were. They were no Daniel Tosh, who brilliantly touches and crosses those touchy lines. They weren’t irreverent, funny, smart or entertaining. They were just…trolls. And I for one, wasn’t going to sit in that environment and just let them spout their racism and go on about their “rape fantasy” without being held accountable, so I tweeted how boring they were, how untalented and then of course, these particular trolls showed themselves for what they really are…cowards and insecure little bullies.
One thing I’ve written about previously is how when you’re engaging in social media, you have to accept that you don’t own your message. As soon as you hit Enter or Upload, as soon as you publish your content, in whichever medium you choose, it’s your audience that owns that content and they can do whatever they want with it. Mashup, malign, masticate, once it’s out there, it’s out there.
These boys couldn’t handle the criticism or the gift of honest feedback, so of course, the trolls that they are, they started to attack me, personally. I’m a “stupid bitch”, telling me to “leave” because they just wanted to circle jerk with their white, privileged, young audience and not be held accountable.
Not a chance little men. You don’t get to tell me what to do, nor do you get to control how this audience member responds to your content. You’ve obviously not gotten the point of social media.
Later, during the social part of the evening, I stopped one of the little trolls and looked him in the face and told him that he wasn’t allowed to call me a bitch or use me for fodder for his base attempt at holding an audience unless he had the balls to look me in the face and call me a bitch to my face. Guess what? He couldn’t; well, not until he was backed up by two of his friends. He was dumbstruck, speechless and pathetically “out of his league” (as was tweeted by @late2game), as most bullies are. The best he could muster was that I was “fat”. He may have gone on and called me other things in the long email he sent me the next day, but I decided to listen to @jonpilon, as he was the one that reminded me to “Not Feed The Trolls” and delete that email without reading it. They’d already had enough of my energy.
The reason that I’m blogging about this experience now almost two months later is because I’ve experienced a few episodes in the last few weeks which has led me to realize that the world is FULL of trolls. Frauds, bullies, liars, gossips, toppers, energy vampires, whatever you call them, they’re everywhere. At work, in friendships, in your social, in your home and most dangerously, in yourself.
I’m strong enough to admit that I’ve been a troll and I still, some days, have troll tendencies. I judge, I mock, I gossip, I bully. I won’t put up with others’ trollish behaviour, so why is it acceptable when it comes from within me?
Well, of course, it’s not.
What I’m trying to do though is be more aware of when I’m acting like a troll myself and I’m actively working to stop feeding any trolls that I encounter.
So, especially after just completing a 21 day cleanse, here’s to feeding that better part of my soul and my community, more presently and more mindfully.