One of the struggles of being a blogger is knowing when it’s appropriate to be critical of a product or brand. One of the struggles of managing a brand/product is knowing how to respond to criticism. Today, we’re going to look at an example from the fitness industry to see how major brands should not handle criticism.
There once was a youtube channel called InfiniteElgintensity. It was a bodybuilding dude who made fun of terrible workout videos posted online, frequently targeting crossfit because hey, even though I love crossfit, sometimes it’s a little ridiculous. I went to check his channel this morning and saw this image.
Now, here’s the thing. This apparently happened on the 28th, and the reason I went to check the channel is because I saw a number of tweets tagging Elgin’s twitter and CrossFit asking “what happened.” It hasn’t gone viral in the truest sense of that, but there are definitely people talking about it. In fact, there are a lot more people talking about it now (like me, on a gun blog) than there would have been if CrossFit had just laughed it off and been like “we have millions of dollars, this guy can go f*** himself, we don’t care.” Instead, they filed a bunch of takedown notices, got his channel shutdown, and created a pretty good example of the Barbara Streisand Effect.
So what’s the lesson that bloggers can learn from this? Simple: Don’t feed the trolls. There are always going to be people who talk crap about you. There are as many motivations for why people talk crap, some are good, some are bad, and some are funny. But the moral of the story is that what these people want in every single instance is attention. That’s all it is. If you don’t give them that attention, they’ll eventually go find something else to hate on. That’s the nature of trolls.
Thanks to CrossFit for providing this excellent example of how to not deal with criticism. Squashing dissenters never goes the way you plan for it to go. You can either engage with them in a level-headed manner, or just ignore it. These days I usually opt for the latter. I know this post wasn’t about guns in the realest sense, but I’d like to think that it will serve as an example for both bloggers and brand managers on what not to do.