The advent of social media and online retailers has spawned a new breed of social annoyance - the internet troll. For Indie authors, and anyone that has a public presence, these people can become quite annoying and distracting.
The power of these trolls comes from the anonymity of being able to hide behind a screen name, which is mostly untraceable. These internet trolls get their joy from attacking others through online forums, social media and reviews. Why do they do this? There is no one answer to that question, but in my humble opinion, I think jealousy plays a large part in these often malicious attacks against those who seek to live out their dreams.
It doesn't seem to matter whether your are an artist, politician, business owner or even someone with an opinion that may differ to more popular opinions. Anyone with an online presence can quickly become the target of one of these trolls.
I have seen comments made on various social media pages and websites that make me shake my head and wonder if the person writing these nasty comments would ever have the guts to say the same words to a person face-to-face. Probably not, at least not in the social and business circles in which I move.
When I have had a bad experience at a restaurant or another business, I take my complaint directly to the management, usually at the time when the disparaging exchange has taken place. I don't wait until later to vent my frustrations online. If I am unhappy with a product, I will return it. I may offer an online review, but it is always handled in a reasonable and helpful way and never in a wild and uncontrolled rant.
Constructive criticism should never be confused with an online attack by a troll. If a review or comment is fair and delivered in a reasonable and humane way, then it should be considered constructive. Someone disagreeing with your point of view, done in a level-headed manner, should also not be confused with the actions of a troll.
So how does a public figure deal with these trolls? You don't; you simply ignore their rants and attacks and move on. These trolls get their pleasure from knowing they have upset their target. If they do not get a rise out of you, they will ultimately move on.
Never fear that your true supporters will start to believe the ravings of a troll, most people with any common sense can spot trolls quite easily and ignore them. This is not easy to do, but your silence is deafening to those that hide behind their computers and launch attacks against you.
Keep following your dreams and whatever you do, do NOT feed the trolls!