How to Avoid (or Deal) with Internet Trolling – Social Media Guide for Business Users

Photo by Tim Ove and posted on

So trolling isn’t just limited to teens on Twitter; unfortunately it can happen over all social media sites, even professional ones, and the culprits fit into no particular age bracket or profession.

“In Internet slang, a troll (/ˈtroʊl/, /ˈtrɒl/) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.” (WikipediaSo, define trolling – what is it?

But why is it called trolling?  The word ‘trolling’, when used to refer to provoking others, originated in the US military in the 1960s.

Anyone who has an active business social presence will likely have been the victim of some form of ‘trolling’ at some point, be it comments on a blog, post or even picture. From my experience, if you have a large network and are somewhat of a professional ‘social butterfly’, you can be more likely to attract this kind of attention.

So how do you avoid it?

Keep it relevant – lots of people get agitated over posts that they deem to be not relevant or appropriate for specific social media sites. Keep LinkedIn business relevant and remember that family photos, weight loss updates and what you are doing on the weekend should be saved for more personal social sites like Facebook and Instagram, etc.

Don’t over post – people checking their newsfeed will quickly become annoyed if you are constantly ‘blocking up’ their newsfeed, so be consistent with your posts and spread them out throughout the day/week.

Check spelling and grammar before you post! This is a massive one; don’t let a potentially great post be overshadowed by a misplaced apostrophe!

But if after all that you still unfortunately become a victim of trolling, what do you do?

1. Dependant on the nature of the comment, first and foremost reply to the person in an empathetic manner offering to contact them directly to discuss things; for instance, they could disagree with a blog that you have published. Let them know that the article is opinion-based, given your experiences, and that you are thankful for their insight. That could be a prompt that gets you to write a follow-up blog! The key here is to be empathetic and professional without provoking any more negative responses.

2. If the comment is what you would deem offensive, contact them directly (if possible) to let them know that you find the comment detrimental and ask them to remove it.

3. If needs be, you can delete comments yourself if the comment is offensive.

4. If the person is consistently commenting negatively, LinkedIn does give you the option to block and also report the individual to LinkedIn.

5. Worst case scenario, should the trolling get out of control (i.e. multiple people leaving negative comments), I personally would remove the post/blog, especially if this has been put on to LinkedIn Publisher. If LinkedIn shares your article then contact them directly and ask for it to be removed – this can be done within 24 hours.

The LinkedIn Publisher feature is a wonderful platform for like-minded professionals to share their knowledge and opinions on what should be there to help others. Unfortunately, there are people who will only look for the bad rather than appreciate the free information and insight that people within the business community have personally taken time out to publish.

If you notice any mistakes on a post or even disagree with something then think twice before you comment; could you email the person directly and make them aware of a mistake? If it’s a clash of opinions, be respectful and articulate your point of view professionally and empathetically.

For more advice on what content you should push out on to your social media platforms see:

For more of my LinkedIn publisher posts see – –

Global Seven News

Sarah Socha

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