Photo by Domenico Loia on Unsplash

Mathilda the Troll and Her Cousin Ricky Bobby

Wrangling social media in the wild, wild West.

“My cousin Ricky Bobby can buld me a website for fre.”

It was the end of a long day of wrangling people, ideas, and social media madness when the message above appeared on a client’s social media account advertising their new do-it-yourself website workshop. I had been on my way to rummage through the leftovers and scrounge up something (preferably without mold) to reheat for a long-delayed dinner.

Frack! Now I needed to respond and my stomach was growling like an Irish banshee on All Hallow’s Eve.

Side note: To learn more about the importance of the word “frack” see this:

My first thought was, “Well, wee-otch, go get your cousin Ricky Bobby, neighbor Jameela, or co-worker’s sister-in-law’s friend Da-niece to do it then and a pox upon you! And learn how to spell!”

After a moment of simmering, my next thought was, “Release the Kracken!” In which I imagined myself as a Zeus-like character as played by Liam Neeson.

But since I’m not a god, demi-god, or even quarter-god, I figured that wouldn’t work. Plus, I don’t even know where to find a Kracken.

However, I could open the secret panel in my closet and push the red button thereby activating my dark network comprised of former Imperial stormtroopers, snarky librarians, and writers who’ve spent more hours researching how to make people disappear than the time it takes to watch ALL of the Fast and Furious movies in one sitting.

I rubbed my hands together in evil anticipation. But then my inner voice (which sounds oddly like Dana Carey’s impression of George Bush) said, “Wouldn’t be prudent. Not gonna do it.”

So what did I do? I had a cup of tea, of course, and pondered my response.

I wondered if Mathilda (not real name) had even read the webpage with the info on it or if her eyes had only zoomed in on the price before she popped back over to the social media platform to begin her trolling.

I mean the workshop was providing two days of instruction, a development environment, a professional headshot, a branding consultation, launch assistance, and networking. But wait, there’s more!

A fruit tray, chocolate sculpture, dancing monkeys, and personalized punching bags for when things go wrong! I’m sorry, but is your cousin Ricky Bobby going to provide all of that? I think not!

Also, when did we get into this idea that everything should be free or only $20? I wonder how Mathilda would feel if her employer said that they thought she should work 60 hours while only paying her a salary based on a 40-hour work week and logging her every bathroom break. Oh wait, they probably do that. Scratch that.

Anyhow, as I continued drinking my tea and the caffeine (and other assorted herbs and supplements) slowly seeped into my brain like a raindrop working its way into the cracks and crevices of a rock, an idea began to form.

I carefully crafted a statement that even the most tactful diplomat/PR specialist would admire. Then I reached out to several former customers of the client who were super supporters. I asked if they would be willing to respond and share their positive experiences. They enthusiastically agreed and I was ready to launch Operation Troll Squash. <please insert loud, booming voice when reading this phrase>

I posted the official response and let the squasher — I mean, support — squad know. Then I dashed to the kitchen and zapped some leftovers and headed back to my laptop to watch the smackdown (diplomatic, of course) begin.

As I pulled up the page, what should I see? Mathilda had deleted her comment! Just then the squasher squad rolled up and launched their salvo of enthusiastic and supportive comments. A few of them reached out privately and asked me about the troll. I told them she had already deleted her comment.

That didn’t stop them from posting their glowing reviews and comments, plus sharing the original post. In the end, the workshop info page received a lot of traffic and the client was happy. I should say that all’s well that ends well.

But I still keep an eye out for Mathilda. I must be out there in the night, staying vigilant. Wherever a social media account needs to be saved, I am there. Wherever there are trolls, wherever there are inflammatory or digressive comments, I am there. But sometimes I’m not. I’m reheating food. Or using the bathroom. Or goofing off on Medium and dreaming of curation. Am I a social media pro? No. Am I a bird? No. I’m a bat. I’m Batman. I mean, I am Mo.