How to not deal with criticism

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.

crossfit cant handle the heat

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.

7 thoughts on “How to not deal with criticism”

  1. “Squashing dissenters never goes the way you plan for it to go.” <– Congrats Caleb. With that little insight you've just become a proper security and defence pundit! Give us your opinion on Ukraine next?

  2. This is one of the things that bothers me about CrossFit. While I think they have a good methodology, they seem to have added “being a complete douchebag,” to their business plan. See also, not allowing a transgendered person to compete in their new gender for completely unscientific reasons while being really insulting about it at the same time.
    http://www.tabatatimes.com/dear-kate-features-chloie-jonsson/

  3. CrossFit has been acting this way since day 1. In fact, this is minor compared to some of the other things they have done. Hardly even a blip on the radar of “Shit CF has done”. Regardless of what we think of it, it seems to be working out pretty well for them.

  4. FYI, Caleb, I see that Midway USA’s Youtube channel was just shut down due to “copyright infringement” issues. I do not know what happened to trigger(sic) this, but perhaps you could ferret out the problem .Perhaps some manufacturer did not like seeing Larry the gunsmith tinker with their product. I never recall him badmouthing any product. He received an NRA award in the past for “service to the industry” or somesuch.
    I enjoyed their “how to” videos.

    1. One of the other problems is that Youtube’s Copyright infringement algorithm is totally jacked up.

  5. Caleb, I’m glad to see you examining this issue, because you do have a tendency to rag on companies or commenters sometimes. Whether justified or not, such actions don’t make Crossfit, or Caleb, look good.

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