This is one of the more pointless tasks you’re going to encounter in your professional career and even when you’re doing what you love, posting and publishing your work online, getting exposure, and really connecting with people.
The bigger you become and the more people you reach with your work, means the more people you become exposed to, and that also means the more of the wrong kind of people you’re going to be exposed to.
It’s easier to be deconstructive than to be constructive.
The more attention your work receives online and the more people it’s exposed to, the more likely it is that a very small, minute, yet vocal, amount of people wont agree with your views or your approach to your work. This escalates quickly if you receive a spike in success and suddenly find yourself in the spotlight after being mentioned in a popular website article or retweeted by someone with a lot of influence and reach.
A spike in success is a surefire way of attracting trolls.
Trolls will try to find a way to devalue your work and efforts in a bid to justify why they are unsuccessful or for their jealousy in not being in the spotlight. They envy you for being in a ‘better’ position than they are.
Of course it’s perfectly justifiable for people to question, disagree and challenge your views, but there is a difference between this and someone being deconstructive just for the sake of it.
It’s the wrong people who don’t like to see others being successful, and that’s fine, because they aren’t the type of people you are trying to resonate and connect with. The person who understands you and your brand will also identify these trolls. Your reputation is never at stake when it comes to trolls*. You should pay more attention to the people who are admiring your work than to the vocal minority that aren’t.
For every 1 detractor, you have 100 silent admirers.
Focus on your audience who are on board with you, who are influenced by your work and your values, and not the ones who are picking up on and pointing out your mistakes just to be mean. You’re going to make mistakes, so be transparent, iterate it in public and let people know, this shows your honesty to people. People like a human element when dealing with those who they admire and follow online. It builds trust, and people will like you for that.
The number one way of dealing with trolls is also the classic; don’t feed it. This will be a true test of endurance and of your professionalism. This is your brand and business, *your name is only ever at stake when it comes to interacting with trolls. You have no idea how fast your credibility will go from hero to zero if you start flaming back and forth on a comments/discussion board.
You will have to realise that some people aren’t going to like your work, they have different views, experiences and situations, these are all great, and in the right environment, can promote a healthy discussion and good debate about certain topics and approaches to ideas and work. But you can’t please everyone.
Trolls are a good indicator that your growing your audience and that your work is being noticed.
Embrace it, remain professional, your already and influencer to someone, even if you don’t know it.