Chris Long of the New England Patriots may have just saved the Internet — and saved you from yourself.
Here’s the problem … and it’s a bad one.
For some reason, many social media influencers, celebrities, journalists, and others who should know better, can’t resist retweeting, or quote-tweeting internet trolls. Sometimes they want to get off a good one-line zinger. Sometimes they want their followers and the world to know what kind of monsters are out there on the internet (as if we needed another reminder). Sometimes they want to shine a light on a common argument, and then publicly shoot it down.
But here’s what they’re actually doing; Giving a megaphone to a person (or, quite often, a bot) whose sole reason for existing is to get retweeted or get under the skin of the target of their abuse.
The worst possible response to a troll is to give that troll a wider audience.
But you can’t help yourselves. I get that because I’m a sick, addicted, pathetic, twitchy, social media junkie just like you are.
Chris Long couldn’t resist either. But instead of retweeting his enemies, he merely quoted them anonymously. Here’s an example.
Here’s a bunch of examples collected by Deadspin in their aptly titled piece: Chris Long Responds To Dummies Criticizing Him For Not Visiting The White House.
Chris Long managed to feed his personal need to quote and then obliterate the imbeciles who targeted him on Twitter; and he did so without providing them with even a hint of their much-desired traffic and notoriety.
It may not be win-win. But it’s not a lose-lose. And on Twitter, that alone is a victory of sorts.
Maybe it shouldn’t surprise us that a guy who just played on a Super Bowl-winning defense knows a thing or two about stopping offensive behavior.
It’s still true that the best defense is to ignore the trolls. But if you must respond, at least do it without giving them exactly what they want.