Saturday, February 27, 2016

What the hell is Medium.com?

Over the last couple of days, I've seen a number of viral blog posts from a site called Medium.com.  You've probably seen them too.  The first post I remember reading was written by a woman named Talia Jane, who wrote about being barely able to survive on her wages at Eat24.  I read that post and had some empathy for Talia.  I've been in her shoes and I know how hard it can be when you're in your early 20s.  That was a very scary time for me.  So even though I recognized why some people were busting on Talia for being a millennial aged whiner, I had a little heart for her.

I can't say that I think Talia's post was altogether wise, although she has sort of made a name for herself.  Maybe that will lead to something new?  I see from her most recent posting that people have reached out to her with empathy.  She's not the only one who feels the way she does.

Anyway, it didn't take long for someone to write a snarky response.   This one was written by a woman named Stefanie, who is just a few years older than Talia is, but apparently thinks she's way more mature. That post got shared probably just as much as Talia's has been.  A lot of people liked it. I read Stefanie's post and even though I mostly got what she was saying, it kind of made me feel shitty.  The level of venom in her post, while probably entertaining for a lot of readers, seemed a bit harsh to me.  Aside from that, Stefanie may not realize that bad luck can strike in an instant.  She clawed her way into a secure situation now, but what if fate strikes her upside the head?  She could lose what she has in an instant.  

As of today, Stefanie's snarky rebuttal has inspired another snarky rebuttal from a 36 year old named Sara Lynn Michener.  Sara Lynn tells off Stefanie in her very biting open letter, basically accusing Stefanie of being a snarky bitch with no empathy.  I must say I was most impressed by Sara's writing.  It may not get as many shares as Stefanie's open letter  to Talia got, but I liked that Sara addressed what so many people in America seem to be lacking-- empathy and concern for other people.  On the other hand, while Sara was dressing down Stefanie for being a bitch, she was also being rather bitchy.  People love that shit, though.

Nobody likes a whiner.  I understand that.  But the fact is, life in America is hard and with every day, it's getting scarier.  Yes, I know that America is a first world country and there are worse places to be. On the other hand, over the past ten or fifteen years, a whole lot of people have seen their prospects dim.  People have lost their jobs, their homes, and their careers thanks to the economic downturn.

It seems like everyone is very concerned about themselves and what's in it for them.  So when someone like Talia comes along and writes eloquently about how hard it is to be 25, struggling to make enough money to pay her bills on $8 an hour and credit cards, other people are quick to tell her to STFU.  Yes, Talia has a lot going for her.  She's young, educated, presumably healthy, and white.  She lives in a beautiful, but very expensive city.  That doesn't mean that her life isn't hard.  She has a right to her voice.  I know others have rights to their voices, too... but why do they have to be so unkind about expressing themselves?  What a person writes in an essay is just a glimpse of who they really are as a person.  And yet, poor Talia Jane got a whole shitstorm of hate coming from people who think she should be happy she was making $8 an hour and barely scraping by.  I didn't get the idea that Talia was looking for a six figure salary.  Seems to me she just wanted to be able to eat.

As I was reading all of these "open letters" on Medium.com, I noticed that I had an account.  I don't remember ever signing up for Medium.com, but I see that I even have an avatar... an old Facebook picture from the fall.  I know this because I took it right after I got my baby tooth pulled.  I clicked on the picture and went to my profile, where I saw that I had nine people following me.  And I was following ten people myself.  I have no idea how I ended up with an account on Medium.com.

I guess I'm not upset about having a Medium.com account, especially since I also like to write.  It just seems mysterious that I do have one, especially since I don't remember signing up for it.  I have noticed that a lot of content on that site is somehow ending up going viral.  I'm not sure I necessarily want anything to go viral, mainly because viral stuff brings out the haters.  I don't like dealing with haters.  I get enough of them on my blogs.

Actually, now that I think about it, the rebuttals to Talia Jane's post remind me an awful lot of those life stories you'd hear from your parents...  "You think you have it hard?  When I was your age, I had to walk uphill in the snow with bare feet to get to school..."


I think Monty Python's Four Yorkshiremen sketch nicely sums it up...




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