Any individual who spends a significant amount of time online has been witness to an act of trolling. What used to be limited to forums and comment boards is now a prolific activity throughout online space, especially on social platforms.
Organizations as well as individuals on social media need to be aware of this, and know the consequences of engaging these individuals. Recently, a somewhat off -color (you have been cautioned) case study has played out that illustrates the harm one can do to your own online image by responding to trolling.
Popular internet humor site http://www.theoatmeal.com produces memes, comics, and other imagery that are spread throughout the internet. Until I became aware of this particular incident, I had never visited The Oatmeal, however the owners material was easily recognized as works I had seen shared, tweeted, pinned, and otherwise spread throughout the web. Other sites will also reproduce this material, sometimes failing to credit the original author.
Funnyjunk.com is one of those sites. Following a comment by The Oatmeal on their use of his material, Funny Junk threatened a lawsuit.
You can read about that and The Oatmeal’s response here, in addition to this particular page, he has documented the rest of the incident in other posts.
Well, The Oatmeal’s post led to Funny Junk’s lawyer suing him for defamation. This was a result of the massive amount of angry trolling emails, letters, and other contact the lawyer received.
Now this is where today’s lesson comes in- when the trolls of the internet attack you in any number, don’t, I repeat DO NOT engage them. Ignore them.
This article illustrates how you look when you respond in kind.
By responding, this lawyer has absolutely destroyed whatever public image he once had.
So DON’T do it.
And if you do, then the internet will enjoy laughing at you.