Monica Lewinsky, who once called herself “patient zero” of internet shaming, has become a passionate advocate for ending cyberbullying. She’s made speeches and written essays on the topic — including her widely viewed 2015 TED Talk — but she’s also sharing practical tips on how to deal with trolls.
“In dealing with trolls … the only rule I abide by is that there is no rule of thumb,” she told Refinery 29 in an interview. “Not every tactic works for every target or perpetrator of this behavior. Some people like to say, ‘You must stand up to a bully.’ That’s not true for every target. Nor is that always what will work best.”
She went on to say that clever humor “that isn’t shaming the other person” is how she usually shuts down trolls. “I also sometimes ask people if they want to reconsider the comment they posted — it works over 50 percent of the time,” she said.
No matter what, Lewinsky said it’s important not to give the trolls what they want: “I only allow myself to yell ‘you a-hole!’ at the computer and not send it on the computer as a response,” she said. A good rule of thumb, in general.