That title could be deceiving. No, Sound Women aren’t trolls. In fact last week I did a talk with them about all things radio and they were a wonderful bunch. It was such an enjoyable, friendly & invaluable session. I mean, yes, there was a pretty hairy moment where the tea machine ran out of hot water and there was almost a revolt, but thankfully due to quick thinking and thick skins we all escaped unscathed. These seemed to be two of the biggest talking points;
Everyone finds networking pretty bloody awkward at times but ultimately is absolutely essential in this industry so work at getting good at it. To be honest, I found it a real relief that so many admitted it was not only a pretty painful process but not as easy as it sounds. The fact is, if you want to work in radio, particularly as a presenter, a job talking on the radio is pretty much never going to be advertised. What were brilliant points from Natasha Maw & Helen Zaltzman, were that to get you over that cringe worthy hurdle of having to sell yourself and talk about how remarkable you are, think about what it is you can offer them first. Why do they need you? As opposed to how you need them or just simply, HELLO I WANT A JOB WITH YOU CAN I HAVE ONE PLEASE. Building a relationship is crucial. And not forgetting they are also human beings helps. Well, not all PD’s. (not referring to current employer, past employer or any future employer OBVIOUSLY-was just a gag). The radio industry is also very small so try not to piss anyone off.
A lot of this seems really obvious reading back, but you’d be amazed by the amount of people who start an email with ‘I really need you to help me’. If I don’t know you, you’ve just put me in an instantly pressurised scenario. I’d get it if I was a Doctor. But please remember I am not. Or a tweet saying RETWEET THIS. Erm, well…why? Hello is nice sometimes.
2) How to deal with online criticism.
I was amazed by how this question launched such a debate, loaded with horror stories. Ten years ago this issue would barely have existed but now it seems like a pre requisite we must accept if we’re to do a job which requires a public profile.
I’ve received comments, critiques or general weirdness but I usually just click on their profile and discover they’ve spent their days spreading hate to a vast amount of unsuspecting victims so I can usually laugh it off. If we ever get an abusive message during the show we very occasionally take joy out of it by reading out their name and thanking them for their lovely text. But usually, it just gets ignored.
But then this week I tweeted my excitement at having just started watching Breaking Bad from the beginning, (I appreciate I’m several years behind). Most people tweeted back their excitement for me as it has a pretty obsessed fan base. As I’m behind I’ve been deliberately careful about stumbling upon spoilers. Yet I received a tweet from a girl (well a picture of a girl anyway) who detailed what happens at the end of the series (oooh you’re hard). No dialogue in the tweet, just listing what happens and who dies. Now I appreciate this isn’t direct abuse at me but it’s just pointlessly malicious. As soon as I saw the first couple of details I managed to stop reading as I knew what this dingbat was trying to achieve. My initial anger turned pretty rapidly to pity. I got my producer, who knows the ending, to investigate their profile. Turns out there were many victims. And you thought Jesse Pinkman had a rough ride. This person, clearly has so little enjoyment in life that they actively spend time online creating misery for others. The very thought of that is quite frankly depressing. So if you are ever at the receiving end of some kind of pathetic trolling from a mindless twit, be aware that these people would never dare say it to your face. I find it hard to understand how they don’t realise how hideous they’re being, but maybe they don’t realise how unhappy they are?
Obviously that experience I had is nothing compared to the vitriol some will inflict. I listened to this podcast last week by American comedian Lindy West. Not only is the level of abuse she receives staggering, but the extremity of it is quite beyond belief. It had me in tears one moment, in a rage another, but also sympathetic to the most hideous troll you can possibly imagine in the next! Incredible insight into the mind of the most despicable troll I’ve ever heard of.
Or just imagine them looking like this. I used to collect these. They never upset me. (I had all of these!! #showoff)
Gym Troll. Just enjoys pink and working out mainly.
Rock star troll-I pierced the ear of mine. SO EDGY.
Easter bunny troll in a onesie!! (Limited edition). Super cute.
Soz got bit carried away there…