The deliberately rude ARE different than you and I. We must understand that to protect ourselves.
Yesterday I wrote a post, responding to another artist’s frustration on being treated rudely by a gallery she approached.
Shortly after I published it, I received a comment that baffled me. It was condescending and pretentious, and completely missed my point.
I almost replied to it. Instead, I’ll be deleting it soon.
Why? Because any comment that includes the phrase “Sorry to offend your sensibilities, but….” is not a serious contribution to discussion. (The writer’s contention was, I don’t understand that galleries are a business, and rank hobbyists need to know that.)
I almost leapt to my defense. The original article expressed dismay at how the gallery treated them, not the fact that they didn’t like the work. After all, if a business is rude to its potential vendors, is that good business sense?
I decided to delete the crabby response. But I still wondered why someone would be deliberately provacative. When I visited the person’s website, I could see no evidence of a working artist, or even a viable online presence. Nothing. Wha…..??
Finally it dawned on me. Whether I responded, or left the comment as is, people visiting my blog would do just what I did: Click on the crab’s site to see what they’re about.
The crab was using his comment as click bait. Diminishing what I offer, in order to build traffic to their own site.
We hear it all the time: Don’t feed the trolls! Don’t let them bait you, engage you, feed off your anger.
Unfortunately, the trolls are getting bigger, and hungrier.
A memorable illustration is high tech blogger Kathy Sierra, whose inspirational, highly-readable blog changed the face of her industry–until hostile comments and death threats chased her off the scene. (Temporarily, fortunately. She’s back, and she’s awesome.
Another is Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones, who was brutally trashed on Twitter by a someone who’s name I won’t even print.
And of course, the biggest troll of all, the Republican nominee for President of the United States.
What do these trolls gain from their behavior?
Unfortunately, a lot.
They get attention. Publicity. Lots of it. And though we detest and protest their behavior, we end up talking about it–and them–even more. The Google hits skyrocket. The person who cruelly baited Leslie Jones actually celebrated when he was banned from Twitter. Why? Because the media talked about him and his antics even more, nonstop. The interviews continued, the outrage continued, and there he was, sitting in the middle of a media frenzy, enjoying every minute, crowing about his successful grab of the world’s attention.
The more we learn about people like this, we realize they are not motivated by the same things that motivate most of us. I want to be known for my work, of course. But I want it to come from a place of inspiration, compassion, support, and contribution. I want to use my gifts to make the world a better, happier, more joyful place.
These others crave attention. Power. Control. And they will do anything to get it. The world is a playground to them. The media is a system to be gamed. The rest of us are simply fodder for their egos.
In my own tiny world, where I make little horses and bears, where I share what I’ve learned on my journey so that others can be inspired to walk their own path, there is no room for these people. Oh, sure, some will make their way here from time to time.
But I’m learning to recognize them faster.
And I hope you do, too.