Haters Gonna Hate: How To Deal With Social Trolls

DJ Trollface

Trolls are the blight of social media, their effects range from mild annoyance to real hurt – here, we discuss how to deal with social trolls as a DJ.

Social media sites like Twitter and Facebook allow DJs to supercharge their publicity and communicate with thousands of fans but trolls are the evil part of this medium, disrupting, annoying and potentially offending musicians and their fans, by posting negative comments.

As with most questions of marketing and media, there is a right way to handle a given sort of troll under a certain set of circumstances. Here are some examples of artists enacting the different methods.

Be respectful

Many experts, such as the Public Relations Institute of Australia, advise that trolls are energised by anger and that social media users should respond cordially in order to defuse a possible flame war. Maintaining your cool should leave most trolls bored, convincing them to leave. Further to this, some otherwise normal people turn troll when they are angry and, by keeping the conversation polite, artists can convert potential trollers into mere constructive critics.

In March, Avicii earned a lot of harsh comments in response to the live stream of his UMF set. By way of a reply, he addressed his critics personally, taking into account their comments and defending his musical choices.

In the process, Avicii’s post earned more than eight million likes, and he stayed true to his musical aims. The post gained thousands of comments – some mean, while most repeated the same message: you can’t please everyone.

avicii comments

Thus, Avicii turned a situation that could have been aggressive into a talking point, and remained the bigger man as a result. Had he responded with anger, his audience may not have been so supportive.

Call a troll a troll

For the rapper 360, quickly gaining support on Facebook made him a target for trolls. His response was to call them out for what they are:–

… i feel for those who go out of their way to bring someone down. No one who is content and happy with their own life does shit like that, ever. to all those who really go out of their way to hate me, i wish u all the best in ur life cos obviously things mustn’t be right at the moment. im on cloud 9 and will not be brought down =)

At the time of this post, 360 had around 200,000 likes, he now has 521,906.

WebRoot advises social network users to call out trolls for what they are, identifying that if your only option is to ignore a troll then, in some respects, you have been silenced. 360 ensured that he wasn’t silenced by ignoring the trolls’ individual comments, while offering them strong words collectively.

An ex-troll and ex-internet user commented wrote on GiantBomb that they felt ashamed of the way they behaved online – 360’s words might convince a few people like this to change their ways.

Delete and carry on

Sometimes a troll attack will be so totally nihilistic and unreasonable that no response can diffuse the situation. EDMCanada described how the Facebook page belonging to the Dutch trance act W&W suffered a mass attack originating from a page called ‘Trance Producer Trolls’, in which users would simply post the ‘poop’ emoticon as a comment. As the page’s name suggests, these folks won’t care if they’re called out as trolls.

For a while, the attack really messed up the comments section. Nonetheless, the number of trolls is finite and so is their time, and as W&W’s people steadily deleted the comments and banned trolls (around a thousand), the attack hit the buffers. Quite importantly, they didn’t give up – keeping the post live and dealing with the consequences.

Handling an event like this will never be easy though, ultimately, an artist should have more at stake than a troll, thus far more motivation. Further to this, once it was all over, W&W continued to post regularly and publish great-looking images. Trolls always leave with nothing, while dedicated and motivated artists can move on and keep using social media to its full extent.

Post by W&W.

At the time of the attack in January, W&W’s official page had 136,422 likes, it now has 822,541.

There is no single response that will fit every troll, each attack demands a specific action to match the number of people involved and their motivations. There is a mantra, however, that connects all ways to deal with social trolls: always be stronger and better than them. Even if you are upset by their actions, don’t let them know about it, because this is what they want, and if they get it they will come back for more.

So, stay cool, take some examples from great artists, and keep posting interesting content – real fans will be forthcoming.

Image credit: Remco Nagtzaam

Oliver Cox

Oliver Meredith Cox is a freelance writer from Liverpool, UK. He focusses on music, politics, sci/tech, and business, among other topics. In his spare time he makes music of his own in an electronic and rock style, which can be found on his Soundcloud page.