Last week a recent University of Iowa grad and, to this point, unknown journalist named Cathryn Sloan penned an article for the nextgen Journal titled Why Every Social Media Manager Should Be Under 25.
The firestorm the article created was something to behold and while I do believe that Sloan’s greatest mistake was that she wrote a piece that seemed a bit oblivious to the fact that the whole world, and not just her age peers, would read it, I watched in horror at the way the piece incited the social media world over twenty five to react. (598 comments at this writing)
The piece went viral because social media forty somethings disagreed violently with her point. Had it stayed there, however, I wouldn’t be writing this post. I saw a number of tweets regarding the piece and curiosity drove me to read it. Like many, I didn’t agree with her point of view nor how she was trying make her point, but I admired that she had a point of view.
As I started to read the comments and reactions I was moved firmly into to her camp as a supporter and even reached out to offer to do an interview to help her tell her story. The rage, hatred, insults and mocking that came through in several hundred comments, including some from very well known names in the bright lights of social media, was one of the most disgusting displays of insensitivity and rudeness I think I’ve witnessed in a long time and it made me very sad to play in this space.
Any argument that the dissenting side was trying to make couldn’t be considered seriously. Yes, there were exceptions, but the overall tone exposed many of the over twenty-five social media set as little more than wannabes lacking enough self-esteem in their own value to take a shot from someone clearly trying to find a voice in a very tough place.
To borrow from Shakespeare – “Me thinks you doth protest too much.” So, let me ask you this – what are you really afraid of?
Some further chided her for not responding to the storm and while that would the obvious route, the social media clan made it next to impossible for her to respond in the manner they deserved.
To me, many of the crybabies and downright haters helped her make her point. I know that it’s really easy to pick on someone you don’t know via comments in a blog post, but if there’s anything my generation is charged with passing to the next it’s common decency and manners and I just hope we haven’t lost track of what those things are.
There, I feel a lot better now.