@YOU: I HAVE SO MANY FEELINGS ABOUT WHAT YOU WROTE AND THEY ARE VALID OMG.
Hello, fellow internet stranger. How are you on this random weekday? Oh lol, plz don’t bother answering because that would be another open letter online, and OMG we don’t need it. (Are you seeing where this is going??)
I saw that you read something I wrote on the internets. CRAZY. You and a million other people. Isn’t it weird how so many people have access to the same 700+ words? That still blows my mind a little bit.
But in all seriousness.
A) Thank you for reading. That I actually do care about. You see, when a good portion of your job is dependent on the idea that people have an interest in what you have to say…it’s sort of imperative that you get lots of people to click on your work and, well, read it. So thank you! You’re part of the reason I’m here today.
B) Oh wow. You have a response article to an article that had literally nothing to do with you? Groundbreaking.
Here’s the thing about your thoughts and feelings and ideas: they are valid! They are worth expressing! They are…dare I say…relevant? (Get it? No? Ok moving on.)
But in all seriousness, just as I am entitled to write whatever my little, overly caffeinated and opinionated heart desires, you are as well. And as much as I might make fun and Liz Lemon-roll my eyes at the idea of a response article or an “open letter” to someone who is a complete stranger who’s motives and execution you are well within your right to assume, but in reality have no idea about when you never asked? It’s a poor excuse for “journalism” and doesn’t exactly add to your credibility, BUT you are entitled to write whatever you want about it.
But the tagging? The @ing? The incessant emailing and messaging? The desperate, “HEY I WROTE THIS THING ABOUT YOU LOOKIT” mentality? That’s just…well…
It’s, frankly, unoriginal.
And all it is, is clearly an attempt to start something. Not a dialogue, because those have a more level, systematic approach. But something like @ing someone in what is clearly meant to be a “take down” is not a dialogue.
It’s trying to start a Twitter fight, or a Facebook fight.
Or, it’s trying to start the “response article to a response article” back and forth. Which is not only exhausting and often a completely inefficient way to execute what you’re probably trying to convey, but it’s utterly pointless.
Go to any website, to any platform, to any blog written by any girl who’s done the whole “I dye my hair fun colors for the instagram!!!” (Guilty as charged btw.) It’s an exhausted formula that is 1010% ineffective. Everyone’s done it; but those who really care about discussion, common ground, dialogues and, well, GOOD content, don’t do it anymore.
And to be TOTALLY honest:
9 times out of 10, anyone who has written an iota of content online cares absolutely 0% that you have a “hot take” on what they had to say.
Because “hot takes” don’t do anything. They just annoy people. They get a smidgen of page views. They don’t create dialogues. They just invoke the Liz Lemon eye rolls.
If you have questions? Email the writer! Try to have an actual conversation. If you have comments? Don’t leave them in the comment section because they probably won’t be seen, and instead – email the writer! If you just want to talk AT someone instead of with someone? Well…then that’s probably why you @ people with no room for discussion and write open letters instead of original thoughts.
I can pretty much guarantee that a “response article” isn’t going to get you anything. Except maybe a mute button Twitter.