The “Swoopers”

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You may know the type…

You’ve posted something on Facebook or Twitter (or insert your social media of choice here), or perhaps your blog.

You posted it because you had read it and thought it was cool.  Or you wrote it because you felt like it had to be said.

You were doing what you thought was right, right?  Right.

(I’ve always wanted to use the word “right” three times in a row, with a straight face.) 😉

And someone comes along and makes a comment–usually someone you don’t know well, have probably never heard (or rarely hear) from, and they leave a comment that does two things:

1 – they diss or criticize, usually based on a single word, and often the word they’re objecting to is in the title, and

2 – it becomes painfully obvious by their criticism that they hadn’t even read the article itself, because if they had, they wouldn’t have dissed it or complained about it.

I call these folks “the Swoopers”.  They’re like eagle-eyed hawks, watching for something to complain about or object to, and when they find it, you can almost hear them yell “jackpot!  Got one!”

And they swoop down, claws outstretched, and they peck at the tiny (usually imagined) detail.  Out of the whole article (which they either didn’t read very well, or didn’t read at all), they shoot you down, based on one little thing, one that probably isn’t even accurate anyway.

I have a new strategy for people like this:

Ignore them.

I get it all the time on my other blogs.

I’ve written a series of posts that criticize a particular health franchise, only to get comments akin to, “my [franchise name] doctor saved my life!” or “how can you be against proper nutrition and exercise?”

News flash: I’m not against any of those things.  In fact, not only do I recommend them daily to my own patients, but I partake in them myself.  There’s nothing wrong with being healthy and making healthy choices.

There is, however, something wrong with using strong-arm sales tactics to rope people into care you don’t (and can’t) yet know they need.

I’m not criticizing the health approach, nor am I even criticizing the individual practicing doctors. I’m criticizing the franchise’s sales approach.

And I’m basing my critical posts on firsthand experience–one post is based on my own experience, the second one is based on that of a personal friend, and the third is based on someone who had wished to remain anonymous, but I’m sure was a practicing doctor who was leaving that franchise, because they had some juicy inside information.

But still, the comments roll in…

“I love my [franchise name] doc!”

I’m sure you do, and I’m sure they love you, too.

“What’s wrong with healthy diets and exercise?”

Nothing.  I never said there was.

And so on (and on and on and on)…

Fighting off the Swoopers, who only swoop down to complain and take issue, before they swoop back out again, on their not-so-merry way.

Another example involves a blog post I had written about self-diagnosis of Asperger’s and autism, (a) condition(s) that, once one reaches adulthood, almost require a certain amount of self-assessment, even if that’s a first step toward obtaining a formal diagnosis.  And there are many legitimate reasons for not wanting to seek a formal diagnosis of Asperger’s/autism.  It has nothing to do with shame or low self-esteem; it has everything to do with society’s attitudes toward it, and various risks one may assume by obtaining the label.  I covered all these bases in my post on the other blog.

Yet, I had received a comment that clearly demonstrated that the person hadn’t even read the post, because had I written a reply to that person, I would have ended up repeating what I had written in the post itself.

I wanted to ask, “did you even read the post?  You know, that ‘part’ (several paragraphs) where I outlined the barriers to getting diagnosed and the potential inherent risks in doing so?”

But I let it go, because going through the effort of writing a response would have been futile.  If they hadn’t read and understood the point of the blog post, then any further acknowledgment from me was not going to do any good.

When you run out of things to say, you simply don’t say anything else, right?

Right.

Especially since I had never even heard of them before.  They obviously didn’t know me, and this was obviously (judging by their judgment) the only post they’d read.  It simply wasn’t worth the time.

That person was just another Swooper, swooping down to bitch.

And there was another post, one that discussed how the real “epidemic” (I even put it in quotes in the title) surrounding a particular condition was actually society’s reaction toward–and overall impression of–that condition.

So far, so good, right?

(Right.)

But I got a comment on social media that they didn’t think the word choice was appropriate.

I was like, “dude–did you even read the post?  Did you notice my (glaringly obvious) quote marks?”

It took all of my brakes not to respond with, “you actually clicked on the link and read the post, right?”

And I SO wanted to add, “you do realize that everyone else–including people with that condition–loved the post and gave me virtual standing ovations, and you’re the only one who took any issue with it whatsoever, right?”

(Right.)

But again, I bit my tongue.  My tongue has a lot of (proverbial, figurative!) “bite marks” on it.

Just another Swooper.

I’m not the only one this happens to, though.

A friend of mine (who is probably the least controversial blogger out there) wrote a piece titled “Can we talk about a cure?” for a particular condition, and she went on to say how society needs to become more open and accepting, and that that would be the cure she alluded to.

But people jumped all over her for it.  It was obvious that they, too, hadn’t read it.

Swoopers.

On my health-oriented blog, I finally issued a post that said, to paraphrase, that up until now I had been pretty liberal about approving comments, because I’m not a fan of censorship and I believe that multiple viewpoints should be represented.  But I was tired of being bitched at according to what other people had imagined that I said.  “Don’t put words in my mouth, and don’t dream shit up, I told them (despite the quotes, I’m still paraphrasing).  “If you’re going to disagree with me, fine.  But from now on, you’re going to have to quote the block of text where I actually said what you’re objecting to.”

That shut most of them up.

Some still swoop in and leave ding-batty comments.

That’s ok.

I delete them now.  They’re not using my blog for their 15 minutes of fame or their twisted form of self-therapy.

It has turned out to be a great decision.

And I’m a lot happier for it.

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