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An Invernessian In America: Some of the trolls’ comments will never leave me

By Contributor

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Diane Knox.
Diane Knox.

AS an Invernessian (my American friends think this is a made up word) I feel very honoured to be contributing to the newspaper I grew up reading – and the establishment in which I did my high school work experience – a nice “full circle” moment.

When the team asked me to begin my weekly musings to coincide with the launch of the anti-trolling campaign, I started enthusiastically taking notes on my phone.

Social media in my line of work is essential. I prefer to call it a necessary evil, which actually makes me feel quite sad.

I think the biggest challenge for me has been attempting to find a balance between appreciating the interaction and genuinely enjoying these platforms, yet preventing the vapid nonsense from affecting my mindset. Because over the years it really has, to the extent I’ve found myself deleting the apps on my phone countless times and even contemplating getting rid of my accounts forever!

We, as media personalities (and I hate that phrase!) have to have a thick skin. But how thick does it have to be to be able to brush off judgmental, rude, insensitive, derogatory comments and continue to do our jobs with a sense of confidence and self-assurance?

Trolling is not something I experience on a daily basis, or even a weekly basis. But it’s something I have dealt with and something I ponder every single time I draft a post.

The funny thing is, or should I say the loveliest thing is, I have never once been trolled by a female. Never. And as a female I am so proud of that.

I work in sport, golf in particular, and the audience is predominantly male – that’s just a fact. But some of the comments I’ve had directed towards me will honestly never leave me, and the accumulation of such comments has really affected how much of myself I choose to offer up on social media.

Here’s one example that springs to mind. For months I had one male follower on Twitter who would hurl a tirade of abuse at me every week, sometimes every few days. Insults about my work, that I have a “fake career” (what even is that?), that I only work in golf because of my brother (I mean, he is a professional golfer who would probably rather I didn’t!) and the most bizarre comments about my physical appearance. It was honestly disgusting.

Every now and again I would reply, but then I realised I was playing his game – I was giving him exactly what he wanted. Acknowledgement.

So I blocked him. And I was actually mad at myself for not doing it right away.

But before I did, I looked at his profile – he had posted pictures of himself with his two daughters, and that made me sick to my stomach. I hope his daughters never have a completely unknown man sending them messages like that, and I’m as certain as I can be that Mr Troll feels the same.

My rule of thumb is, once something is online, it’s there forever – it’s a representation of you. And the good ol’ block button is good for the soul.

- Our new weekly columnist Diane Knox was born and bred in Inverness, and presented a show on MFR for several years before moving to Florida in 2016, where she works for Secret Golf.

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