By now, everyone has heard the tale of Charlotte Dawson – the Australia’s Next Top Model judge who was last week hospitalised after an ongoing Twitter troll attack.
The story sparked discussion over the perils of social media, and how it provides a platform for haters to safely beat down individuals on the web.
However, the saga equally illustrates why social media users need to obey this one simple rule: don’t feed the trolls.
What makes this whole incident unique is that Dawson isn’t a stranger to criticism on the internet.
A dig into the old Google news archives revealed one prominent example that occurred in 2010 where Dawson was heavily scrutinised for some comments she made against plus size modelling in Australia. Hollywood commentator Perez Hilton crucified her for the comments.
Dawson issued an apology, and over time the criticism began to fade.
Judging by her Twitter account, Dawson tried to tackle her haters like you would a negative media report – rebut what is being argued.
But Twitter criticism isn’t like media criticism. You can’t fight it or issue an apology or a retraction and expect the critics to act in turn with reason and logic.
If a critic raises a fair point then you can acknowledge it, but if it’s just abuse then you can safely ignore it. You have to trust that the wider Twittersphere has the common sense to know when someone is trying to take you down for the hell of it.
Dawson made the fatal mistake of engaging with her haters. It only fuelled the rage and escalated the criticism. Ignoring what people are saying about you online can hard, but as I am sure many other celebrities will tell you, it’s a necessity.
On that note, here’s an infographic created by Community102 and sourced from Infographicpedia, which tells you how to identify an internet troll and what to do when you find one.
What do you think about the whole Dawson saga? Let us know in the comments below.