• Courtney Kirschaum

Freedom from trolls and zookeepers

As I write this, I’m being watched ...

My watcher is an icon. And like most icons, of all those who know her, few ever get to see her in real life. So that's kinda cool. 

More on this in a minute.  

When I was about 10, we took a day trip to Washington D.C.

From National Airport we rode the Metro to Washington National Zoo.

I carry one clear image from inside the zoo that day…

…standing on black asphalt outside a huge rectangular cage, not a fenced enclosure, but an actual cage about two storeys high and the length of half a city block, we stood looking and asking, "What's in there?"

Then we saw it… an American Bald Eagle. 

It was a giant birdcage. 

At that time, illegal hunting, chemicals and habitat wrecking, had nearly wiped them out. A zoo was the only place you were likely to see one. 

One of my posts got a mean comment from a bully this week. He said it wasn't “clear or well written” among other mean things. #HatersGonnaHate

I laughed out loud! “Dude!” I thought, “You have no idea!” 

If it wasn’t against my CK’s Guidelines for Managing Brain Challenged Bully Trolls, (CKGMBCBT's) this would be my response:

“If you think this one isn’t well written, you should see some of my early ones. They were real dog food! Wait. I take that back. I don’t even think a dog would eat them. They were email road kill. And this one didn’t even have any typos! You don’t know how good you got it, troll. Puh-lease."

The zoo experience shows that something which doesn’t belong in a cage can be put in a cage.

Trolls are easy to shut down.

There are many ways to send them scurrying like roaches when the lights come on.

99.9% of the time, I delete the comment and usually block the bottom-dweller, (which was this troll's fate.)

Mainly because they're breaking the #1 Rule of LinkedIn. When you break it, people will run from you in droves.

Follow it. Good things come your way, also in droves.

You own your posts and the comments are for you to curate as you see fit. 

Why lose the losers? 

Because they...

Scare good folks off

Attract other "Angroids" who want to spew venom and vitriol (usually with witless, tedious mediocrity)

Are needy attention seekers,

and the best reason...

Because tolerating disrespect sets a bad precedent. 

You teach people how to treat you. Teach them well.

Believe me, if you don’t like my writing, you definitely won’t like my products, so please don’t buy them! Run for the hills now. 

Most of these trolls don’t post their own original content and spend their time trying to get their insecure paws close enough to clip your wings and cage your potential by snarking at your work and making you think you’re not good enough. (You are more than good enough.)

Wherever you are with your work, the only way you’ll get really good (if you’re not there yet) is by making big fat mistakes and learning from them.

Sometimes that means posting some stinkers. I’ve posted plenty. It’s part of how you get better. 

Have you noticed bullies are more likely to attack when they see you finding your voice and getting good? If you haven’t, look for that pattern. 

You might be tempted to

  1. Apologize to the Troll

  2. Slink away in shame for your “dumb” “wrong” or somehow “substandard” post 

  3. Never or rarely post again.

Don’t do any of that. 

That’s you in a cage at the zoo. 

Trolls are afraid to try to fly and love attacking you when you’re testing your wings. 

The temptation to get down and stay down will be especially strong if you’re venturing into new territory. Stick around. 

I respectfully invite you to guiltlessly, gleefully delete their scummy posts and get on with your life and your work.

And if you see someone getting bullied, stand up for them. 

Note: if someone cares about you and wants to give you useful feedback, they’ll send you a private message not attempt to publicly demean or “correct” you.

It’s been over 3 decades since I saw the eagle at the zoo. 

Right now, far away from Washington, the icon watching me since I started writing this email is the biggest American Bald Eagle I’ve ever seen.

She’s sitting high in a tree where I’m quarantining in what’s basically heaven on earth for Bald Eagles.

There two other eagles here with her this spring.

Seeing them free: priceless. 

Deleting bully trolls: free.

Just do it.

Stay free and keep flying,


PS- The eagles are probably here for the Summer. I’ll try and get a picture for you.

PSS- How do I know the eagle is a “she”? Good question. Female Bald Eagles are larger than males by about a third. 

PSSS- How to be a #TrollSlayer is in the new addition to LinkedIn Boost for 2020. And that flies in May.

Get on the waitlist here https://LinkedInBoost.me