Editor’s note: this is a guest post by Maria Diaz of Inkspeare.
When I started writing, I kept most of my writing to myself. Then, cyberspace introduced another dimension to my writing: blogging. Blogging takes your writing out into the open for others to read, comment and offer their feedback on. Blogging has been a blessing, and it has helped writers from all corners of the world to be able to help one another, to inspire one another, and to share their work and knowledge with fellow writers. However, this environment has also given birth to what I will refer to as “Gap Hunting.”
What Is A “Gap Hunter”?
A Gap Hunter reads your post, not with the purpose of sharing it, or of gaining insight or information from it, but for the purpose of searching for a “gap” in your words, a slight bent of interpretation, that can be used to throw your entire post back at you.
Unfortunately, Gap Hunting is becoming a very common phenomenon in the world of blogging. Often, “The Gap Hunter” will twist your words, and therefore your message, and will do so by letting you know this in public (usually in your comments section). Gap Hunting is usually not a typical, respectful disagreement between bloggers, but it is more of a systematic, personal attack on you, using your own words, so that The Gap Hunter cannot be disproved. Often, there is no other point or purpose behind “gap hunting” other than to grab attention and to discredit you.
The danger with Gap Hunters is that they not only cause chaos as they infiltrate your blog–they also infiltrate your emotions, and they may even cause you to doubt your writing. If you are a beginner writer, this can be devastating. As writers, we get used to receiving criticism, constructive or not, but Gap Hunters, with a malicious intent, go beyond constructive criticism or disagreement: they go straight for the writer’s soul–a move that may rupture a writer if their confidence isn’t strong enough to handle the unfair attack.
How Do You Recognize A Gap Hunter?
So, how do you recognize a Gap Hunter? A Gap Hunter will most likely use your own words, not to argue with them and spark a healthy exchange of ideas, but in order to twist the meaning of your words to convey the opposite of what you were trying to convey in the first place. For beginner writers this may be a very traumatic and confusing encounter, especially if the Gap Hunter is a pro at what they do.
How Do You Handle A Gap Hunter?
How do you handle a Gap Hunter? There are three ways to approach them:
- Acknowledge the Gap Hunter politely and don’t feed him/her. This only means that you thank them for sharing their point of view and leave it at that. End by reinforcing your own premise in a brief way. For example, “So-and-so, thank you for stopping by and sharing your point of view with us; ____________” then fill the blank with a brief reinforcement of the purpose behind your blog post.
- Clarify your premise through elaboration. Here, you are adding to your premise, with the intention of not engaging with the Gap Hunter, but clarifying any points that may have become confusing to your readers.
- Lastly: you always have the choice of ignoring a Gap Hunter. Even so, ignoring a comment may appear rude to others, so your best bet is to agree to disagree in a polite manner with the Gap Hunter and then thank the Gap Hunter for participating on your blog. When you don’t feed a Gap Hunter he/she will most likely go away.
The most important tool or weapon against a Gap Hunter is keeping your cool, maintaining your professionalism, and remaining open to your readers.
How to Avoid Becoming A Gap Hunter
Most of the time a Gap Hunter knows what he/she is doing; however, there are times when even people with good intentions may fall into “Gap Hunting” without intending to.
It’s always good to make sure that we don’t fall into Gap Hunting by mistake, as we may hurt someone’s feelings (or someone’s career) without intending to. We may, for example, accidentally become a Gap Hunter when we are eager and excited to give our opinion. In our excitement, we may read a line wrong, or we might respond so quickly that we didn’t notice we had not worded our comment correctly.
Here are a few ways to make sure you don’t unintentionally become a Gap Hunter.
- Read the entire post and take your time digesting its meaning. Reread as needed. (It is polite to the blogger.)
- Before you comment, pause and see if you got the essence of what the writer was trying to convey.
- Take your time to write your comment and enjoy it; there is no need to rush. Review your comment and the way it is worded before you hit the send button.
- If this is the first time that you visit the blog, familiarize yourself with its purpose–this will help you construct a better response to the ideas in the post.
- Read the thread of comments that follow the post. It is common to go off topic this way as comments influence one another and readers will interact with one another. Review your comment and ask yourself: ”Am I commenting about the post or about the thread of comments?” It is best if you keep your comment directed to the content of the post. This also helps to bring readers back to the initial topic of the post.
- Overall, be humble. When you approach a blog post with the desire to learn and share, you avoid lecturing and falling into “Gap Hunting.”
As a blogger, and a reader, remember that most people try their best, and no one is perfect. Mistakes happen and, sometimes, we may fall into Gap Hunting by mistake.
Maria Diaz is a Freelance writer/Real Estate agent who enjoys many artistic venues. Her company is The Owl, Book, and Candle. Between her love for writing, Real Estate, and Art, she finds herself searching for more hours in the day; however, she managed to complete her first novel and is in the process of writing a second. She keeps a blog, Inkspeare, in which she tries to capture all the facets of her life and work. She describes herself as a student of this Universe, and a Master of none.