2022 has been an amazing year for my business. It’s the year I went full-time as a content creator, achieved an active monthly audience of nearly one million viewers and readers, and reviewed a Porsche Taycan.
There’s just one thing that has bothered me, and it’s my tendency to get too involved with trolls.
It started off as a bit of fun. Anyone who follows me on Twitter will know that I’d regularly reveal my ‘Troll of the Week’ by sharing a screenshot of a particularly imbecilic YouTube comment from some knuckle-dragging keyboard warrior.
However, it often went far beyond that. I’d enter long-winded and ultimately pointless arguments with those knuckle-draggers. There are no winners in such exchanges (no matter how many times I profess the engagement to be ‘good’ for the channel). Worse still, I’d be giving a significant chunk of my precious time to an internet idiot, which is probably exactly what they’re after, anyway.
In 2023, I’m making some changes.
How trolls ‘get you’
They know exactly what they’re doing.
Anyone who has published content online and received comments from trolls will know exactly what I’m talking about. Those comments always include something that makes you want to respond. No matter how many times you tell yourself to let it go, you just can’t help yourself.
They’ll question your legitimacy, or suggest that you’re being false. They might claim that your content is utter garbage or tell onlookers that “this video really starts at 05:18 – thank me later” (a pet hate of mine).
These clowns know exactly how to raise your temperature. They know how to make you hit that ‘reply’ button to start the argument and attention for which they’ve been yearning.
Consequently, I’ve reacted far too often this year – to the point where I’ve come to a startling realisation.
Spending too long on the negative stuff
I’ve often said on this blog that trolls are in the minority; if you start a YouTube channel, you’ll encounter far more lovely people than you do idiots.
This is irrefutably true. So why am I spending more time on the negative stuff?
I receive hundreds of lovely comments from viewers every week. People thank me for creating the videos into which I pour hours of time, and say things which still, to this day, feel like they should be directed at someone far better than I.
I respond to as many of those comments as I can, but I now realise that I’ve robbed many of those people of a reply simply because I’ve spent too long engaging with trolls.
Now, who’s the idiot?
This isn’t good enough, which is why I’m going to completely change my approach to community management in 2023.
Letting them go in 2023
Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve hidden and banned more YouTube users than ever before. And you know what? It feels good! Rather than hitting that ‘reply’ button, I just wipe those negative people from history. Gone; never to be seen again.
This is what I should have been doing all along – it’s what those people deserve. More importantly, it would have prevented me from investing time in them, allowing me instead to invest it in replying to the lovely comments I receive.
This new strategy begins today, and while it won’t be easy, I’ve got that whole ‘new year, new me’ thing going on at the moment, which means it’s the best possible time to make such changes.
It might sound like I’m over-egging this particular pudding, but unless you’re a content creator who has experienced troll engagement, it’s hard to explain why this is such a big deal. Trolls are either genuinely unpleasant people or, presumably, have their own issues, but whatever influences their behaviour, it really is capable of severely dampening the day of a creator.
When your YouTube channel is partly responsible for paying the mortgage and you care deeply about the business that lies behind it, any suggestion that you’re in some way not to be trusted or in it for nothing more than the affiliate revenue hurts.
That’s another reason why removing these people from view, rather than engaging with them, is the tactic for 2023 and beyond.
A timely reminder for content creators
If you’re a content creator who has dealt with trolls or who, like me, feels like you’re giving them more time and effort than they deserve, I hope this post has helped.
As noted earlier, trolls are always in the minority. They may shout the loudest, but their inane words also evaporate quicker than the positive comments you receive.
Can you remember the exact details of the last troll you conversed with? I never can.
So, you have my word, folks. Although this sadly means there’ll be no more ‘Troll of the Week’ awards on Twitter, it does mean that I’ll have far more time in 2023 to devote to the lovely people who use their own invaluable time to comment on my stuff.
I feel better about it already.
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