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Trolls in Chelsea: How to Manage Meanies

by | Mar 29, 2013 | By Karin Hurt, Communication |

Being agnostic to trolls, I took a day off work for growth and adventure. As I stepped off the train in Manhattan, my phoned beeped of a “tweetup” at the “Black Door.”

A Tweet Walks into a Bar

I got to the hotel and asked the concierge for directions. He looked at me “change your clothes.”

As I washed my face, I thought, “am I the kind of leader that follows tweets into NYC bars?” Apparently yes.

I was in New York for Chris Brogan’s Impact Next workshop. @chrisbrogan and @otherpeopleIdontknowwhoturnedoutobewonderful were “tweeting up” the night before.

About Trolls

Just as I was feeling cool for having (1) been invited to a tweetup (2) changing my clothes (3) loving the conversation the topic turned to “trolls.”

Oh, crud just what is a “troll?” How fast could I google “blogging trolls” while nonchalantly holding my chardonnay?

Troll (Internet)
From Wikipedia, This article is about internet slang.
/ˈtrl//ˈtrɒl/) is someone who posts inflammatory,[1] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as a forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[2] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.[3] The noun troll may also refer to the provocative message itself, as in: “That was an excellent troll you posted.”

Oh, trolls Been dealing with them for years. Although mine have always been the flesh and blood type with fierce eyeballs that stared straight into my soul. Their witty and frightening tongues– equally alarming. At times they’ve worked for me, that’s the trickiest. Trolls are teachers, you can learn a lot from a clever troll. I have both converted and promoted many a troll (see, How to Melt a Grinch’s Heart.)

And sometimes you just need to walk away.

Applied Tweetups

I asked Chris how he deals with trolls.

“I used to have the worst time with trolls. Then, I realized that I’m not there to serve them. I’m there for you. That’s when life got better.” -Chris Brogan

Consider that in your leadership. Listen, love, lead, consider, and if necessary, cut bait.

Here’s how succesful bloggers deal with trolls. Similar rules apply in our day jobs.

  • Engage first
  • Identify the issues
  • Don’t take it personally
  • Envision greater good
  • Don’t react
  • Starve them
  • Dismiss


Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt helps human-centered leaders find clarity in uncertainty, drive innovation, and achieve breakthrough results.  She’s the founder and CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders, an international leadership development and training firm known for practical tools and leadership development programs that stick. She’s the award-winning author of four books including Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates and Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results-Without Losing Your Soul and a hosts the popular Asking For a Friend Vlog on LinkedIn. A former Verizon Wireless executive, Karin was named to Inc. Magazine’s list of great leadership speakers. Karin and her husband and business partner, David Dye, are committed to their philanthropic initiative, Winning Wells – building clean water wells for the people of Cambodia.


  1. Steve Borek

    I call the Troll Police.

  2. Ajax Woolley (@ajaxwoolley)

    There’s a fine line between someone who can be labeled a troll and someone who just sort of shows up with a chip on their shoulder, eh? I’ve also noticed in some of the online learning groups I’m enjoying that people can find great enjoyment in de-railing a thread.

    • letsgrowleaders

      Ajax, great to see you here. I agree completely. And another fine line as some threads need creative dissent. I think it’s about intent. I am constantly surprised how many people become really ugly in LinkedIn Groups. I would search anyone on LinkedIn before I hired them.


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