A Time to Speak Up and a Time to Just Ignore It

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.

BTW, I’m not a My Little Pony fan, I just found the picture relevant.

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.

keep calm and read on*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.


19 Responses to A Time to Speak Up and a Time to Just Ignore It

  1. I felt the same way! I had a few friends send me the link to the article, and I didn’t even open it. People will have their opinions no matter what, and I wasn’t going to get riled up about it, write a whole post, and ultimately do nothing but talk to myself. My philosophy is like what you like, and don’t be a jerk if someone doesn’t like what you like, or likes what you dislike. Simple as that!

  2. My whole experience is pretty much like yours. Seen people declare their love for YA on Twitter, and figured out that there was yet another idiot writing about how YA is wrong for adults. I didn’t bother reading the article because all of those things usually follow the same format. I didn’t want to give it views, and I hope others didn’t really bother linking and just went on their way to pretty much stand by their love for what they love.

  3. I totally agree. The lone voice of reason I saw on Twitter was saying that the best way to refute the article and show the author that her opinion on what everyone else “should” be reading was irrelevant… is to just keep reading what you’re reading and ignore it. The article was total click-bait, and the internet fell for it (as we always do).

  4. I read the article. It didn’t frustrate me or enrage me. I disagree with her opinion, but why should I care what some stranger thinks? Who is she to me? She’s just a name on the internet. I think some people are just looking for drama. You can tell who they are because they get involved every single time. I wish people would just ignore it. Everyone says how friendly the book blogging community is, but there’s drama ALL THE TIME. Just…stop.

  5. Thanks for writing this post. I’ve been thinking much the same thing and will probably craft a similar post later on. I haven’t read the Slate article b/c I don’t need that kind of negativity in my life, and really, reading the article adds more fuel to the fire so to speak. Best to ignore it and let it die out on its own. However, what really bugged me about the Slate article is everyone’s up in arms response. Instead of getting all shouty, why don’t we just keep reading what we want to read when we want to read it?

  6. Wow, great post, Amy! It’s kind of like the saying “there’s no such thing as bad publicity”. This one person writes an article bashing YA (like you, I haven’t read it and I don’t imagine that I will so I only know the jist of the post) and it gets an outpour of tweets, blog posts etc defending the status of YA books and mostly the original post is being linked. So this article gets pushed to everyone’s attention when it if was left alone it would have just sat on its own in cyber-space and in the end this bad publicity is still pushing the original article to everyone’s attention and gathering more page views, interactions etc. I think everyone should read what they want to read, even if its dismissed by others as being “less”. I personally don’t get the whole Twilight thing but I’ve read the first book and know its not my thing but I’m not going to rant about those that do like it or are part of the fandom.

  7. It seems more likely that the person was an internet troll. They’re just looking for trouble/attention. Doesn’t do any good to argue with them when they don’t really care or their opinion will never change. I always avoid that drama, but sometimes it does create for interesting discussion topics on other blogs.

  8. I like your suggests at the end to just keep blogging and recommending books to friends. Anyone who reads good YA is going to love it because a good book is a good book in any age designation.

    And I think you make a really good point that in our internet age of being *able* to say anything out loud doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a good idea to do so 🙂

  9. Great & timely post! I’m so sick of stupid Twitter drama about stuff like this, and then people even writing posts about it. It’s clear that pretty much everybody KNOWS that whoever it was who said those things about YA was wrong (I didn’t read the article either), and we’re all in the YA community for a reason…so why are people campaigning like they’re trying to convince OTHER YA readers & lovers that this person is wrong? Nobody needs to defend anything, because the community is already up in arms about it. And everybody in the community is clearly going to agree with every argument against it. It just makes no sense to keep going in circles and talking about it over and over again…you’re right, it only serves to draw even more attention to the article in the first place. If nobody had ever responded, it wouldn’t have gotten anywhere near the amount of reaction, attention, and views as it did. By fighting against something, people are inadvertently fighting for it. Ugh.

    But I’m sick of stuff like this in general. It seems like every week there’s some new drama that people are going off about and feel the need to Tweet and write posts about. Can’t we just be positive and happy and ignore all that drama crap? It’s getting old :/

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