The Problem With Telling Women to Email Like Men

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You’ve probably heard by now that you’re doing email wrong. You’re too friendly in your emails. You should write more confidently. You need to be more professional. Women, so the stereotype goes, email differently to men. We’re more personable and less persuasive. We apologize more, qualifying statements with “I think” and “I feel,” and use so-called “permission words” like “just.” And then there are the exclamation points. Several studies have found that, on average, women use more exclamation points in their digital communications than men, making the humble exclamation point somewhat emblematic of gendered differences in email styles. I can’t remember the last time I sent an email without one.

This, we are told, is bad. It makes us look soft, or amateurish. It stops people taking us seriously. One common piece of advice I’ve received: stop emailing “like a woman.” Cut the friendly tone, banish the exclamation points, and don’t you dare think about slipping in an emoji. Email like a man.

The problem with this, however, is the same as with any other kind of Lean In model of feminism. It places the onus to change on the individual, when the problem is societal. It asks those who are already disadvantaged by social structures—in this case, male-dominated corporate culture—to put in extra work only to further uphold those very same structures.

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No, Your Instagram ‘Influence’ Is Not as Good as Cash, Club Owner Says

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We are receiving many messages regarding collaborations with influencers, Instagram influencers. We kindly would like to announce that White Banana is not interested to “collaborate” with self-proclaimed “influencers.” And we would like to suggest to try another way to eat, drink, or sleep for free. Or try to actually work.

Many applauded his attack on the overly entitled “new age beggars,” as one commenter called them.

But others defended the entrepreneurial travelers.

Under the Influence of a ‘Super Bloom’

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“At the beginning of the year, if you told me this is what we were going to be dealing with, I would have called you crazy,” said Steve Manos, the mayor of Lake Elsinore, a small town in Southern California. He was taking a brief reprieve from dealing with the biggest crisis of his short term in office yet: an explosion of picture-perfect California poppies in the Temescal Mountains, just northwest of the center of town.

“The poppy bloom in Lake Elsinore is unlike anything I’ve seen in my 32 years living in Lake Elsinore,” he said. “The flowers are especially vibrant in color, they are numerous and they’re covering the entire mountain.”

The problem for the mayor isn’t the flame-orange poppies themselves, which blossom in the springtime after heavy winter rains follow an extended drought. It’s their adoring, smartphone-equipped fans, who have shown up in droves over the past three weeks, bringing with them horrible traffic and occasionally horrible etiquette when they wander off the trail to pose with, trample or even pick the poppies.

How Instagram Replaced the Contacts List

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When Chris Rackliffe, a motivational speaker in New York, met a potential friend at a bar last weekend, it never occurred to him to exchange phone numbers. Instead, the two swapped Instagram handles, and have been liking each other’s posts. Rackliffe said they’ll probably meet up in person again soon.

“It’s so much more casual to give someone your Instagram handle and keep in touch through stories and DMs,” Rackliffe said. “Swapping numbers feels so serious and stiff nowadays.”

The Captionfluencers

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Famous or possibly hoping to be, they are members of a chorus, voices resonating in supersize captions, some as long as 300 words, published not on Facebook or Tumblr, as you may suspect, but on their Instagram feeds.

Champions of the long-form post, they are confounding expectations.

Instagram, after all, was conceived as a photography app, a place to post the contents of a fancy meal, catch the play of light on a tousled bed, celebrate a professional coup, show off a bikini body or a family trip to the beach.

It’s flourishing now as one of the web’s most compelling storytelling platforms, a repository for uplifting confessions, compressed screeds, some with candidly political overtones, self-help digests, mini essays and speculative musings and, perhaps most compellingly, serialized memoirs in sound-bite form.

No question, the long-form caption is trending…

Teens Are Debating the News on Instagram

Screenshots of Instagram "flop" accounts

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Naturally, they’ve turned to Instagram. Specifically, they’ve turned to “flop” accounts—pages that are collectively managed by several teens, many of them devoted to discussions of hot-button topics: gun control, abortion, immigration, President Donald Trump, LGBTQ issues, YouTubers, breaking news, viral memes.

But as flop accounts grow by the thousands as teens seek refuge from the wider web, many of the internet’s worst dynamics have begun to duplicate themselves on Instagram. Some flop accounts are rife with polarization, drama, and misinformation. All the while, an increasing number of teens are turning to these types of accounts for news, seeing them as more reliable and trustworthy than traditional media.

The accounts post photos, videos, and screenshots of articles, memes, things, and people considered a “flop,” or, essentially, a fail. A flop could be a famous YouTuber saying something racist, someone being rude or awful in person, a homophobic comment, or anything that the teen who posted it deems wrong or unacceptable. Some of the teens who run a given account know one another in real life; more likely, they met online.

The Anxiety of Having a Famous Follower on Twitter

 

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June 23, 2018, was a momentous day in the online life of Laura Pittenger, a New York playwright with roughly 1,200 Twitter followers. That was when the actor John Cusack, who has more than 1.6 million followers, retweeted her and followed her back.

Ms. Pittenger was happy to have a celebrity follower. Then came the anxiety.

“Honestly, I had a moment of paralysis,” Ms. Pittenger said. “I thought, ‘Why would he follow me?’ I was basically a nervous wreck that he was following me at all.”