I think something that has become increasingly harder in this age of Internet and social media is knowing when to express our opinion (and just how much of it to express) and when to keep our mouths shut. I’ll admit, when I was younger, I would share my opinion with a fence post; I thought I had a handle on everything going on in the world. With age thankfully came a little wisdom and humility, and I’ve realized I don’t know everything. And even if I think I might really be more educated in a certain arena than someone spouting off their mouths, there are times when just arguing about it results in everyone losing and no one being converted. So over the years, I’ve tempered myself. It doesn’t change the fact that I have opinions, and I am willing to voice them, but I try to discern when and how the best ways to do so are.
I see things blow up on Twitter a lot. And almost always, I try to block it out, because 140 characters does little to change people’s minds, honestly. I’m not saying you shouldn’t post about causes you believe in ever, but I get a little weary when I see rant after rant about what one person said.
The latest example is that apparently, someone with a keyboard somewhere decided you should be ashamed to read YA. At least that’s what I’ve gathered from what I’ve seen on Twitter. I never looked to find the article so I don’t know for sure. I didn’t want to read it because I didn’t want it to frustrate me. It wasn’t going to better my day or anyone else’s if I did. So everyone has been ranting about how wrong this person is. I agree that it sounds like what this person said is probably out of line. It’s their opinion, but I disagree with it.
But the thing is, I’ve seen it perpetuated so much that I fear that this person’s opinion is getting way more Internet fame and credit than it deserves. I’m not saying no one should speak out against it at all, but when everyone talks about it on Twitter, more and more people become aware of it and perpetuate more about it. If no one had posted on Twitter about this article, I never would have heard about it. And this person would have been met by mostly silence. The only thing more frustrating for somebody with an agenda than being told they’re wrong is for no one to care at all about what they just said.
Or to be proven wrong.
You know how the old saying goes, “ACTIONS speaks louder than words.”
First off, The Fault in Our Stars is going to do well this weekend in the box office, and not even every YA reader is going to see it (I’m not), and not everyone going to see it is going to be a teen. Say what you will about whatever you think of teenage literature, but money talks and the story speaks to people. Some people assume every book in the teen section is like Twilight, and while I have to admit I do not understand that franchise’s appeal, I wouldn’t be so rude to say every fan of the series should be ashamed of themselves, like it’s equivalent to doing something truly shameful, like harming other people. But the point I’m trying to make is, you can let your voice be heard in other ways, by showing what’s great about YA. Share your favorite books with your friends. Keep blogging. Go see your favorite adaptations on opening weekend. Write your own awesome YA bestseller (easier said than done, but you know, some of us are hoping to achieve this one day)!
YA isn’t for everyone, I get that. But some people just want to be inflammatory, and honestly, they don’t deserve the attention. So before you tweet just ask… are you helping promote something positive, or are you just giving the disgruntled a louder mouthpiece? Don’t let them get to you, friends. They’re not worth your time.
*EDIT* I wanted to add the link to another blog post on the matter, Why People Write Anti-YA Linkbait, that is worth checking out.