Let the Trolls Feed You

First, I’d like to celebrate!  As part of our stemverse initiative, we’ve started posting some social media articles celebrating diverse leaders in STEM, and sharing both non-fiction and fiction books that we think will inspire more diverse kids to get into STEM.  Here are our first few posts:

Hats off to my collaborator Bonnie who did the Wu Chien-Shiung post! I had actually hoped to get at least a couple more Black History Month posts put together, but hey, it’s a start.  We have so much more to talk about – so many great STEM leaders and books!

Want to help out? Share those posts to your social network – and encourage people to follow our stemverse accounts!

After getting those posts out, I started experimenting with Facebook advertising.  (Why Facebook?  Mainly because LinkedIn ads never seemed to get my book anywhere, and because I’ve never really tried to figure out Twitter ads.)  The thing I already knew, but had forgotten in the intervening years since advertising my book, is that the trolls like to come out on posts about diversity.  It was so depressing when I was advertising my book, that I started targeting my ads only at women.  Facebook ads weren’t doing much to drive sales for my book, so I eventually discontinued them.  (Amazon does better anyway.)

I have my strengths and my weaknesses, and one weakness I have is I get very sad when people are so stupidly negative about the positive things I’m trying to do.  I know I shouldn’t let them affect me, but emotionally, it’s hard to watch people talk utter garbage about work I know is good.  People say such awful things.  Even forgetting the tie to my personal work, it’s hard just being reminded that there are so many people out there willing to say so many terrible things.  So this week as the first troll posts rolled in, it started to drag me down again.  I don’t engage, I don’t “feed the trolls,” but I still end up reading each comment as I hide it.

And then I noticed something: the number of positive responses outweighed the trolls.  For every 1 troll comment, there were 3 shares.  For every 1 “anger” or “laugh” reaction, there were 20 “like” reactions.  And I started cheering up.  I could focus on the positives instead of the negatives.

I mentioned this to my husband, and he pointed out something even better: the troll comments are engagement, and engagement is key on Facebook!  The trolls are probably helping drive eyeballs to the Facebook posts, even when I hide their comments.  It gives me a certain amount of glee to know that with each reply, the trolls are helping my cause.  Thank you for the engagement, trolls!

It’s still depressing to see the troll comments.  They are still awful.  But I can put up with them a little better, knowing that against their own wishes, the trolls are feeding me.

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