Talk of the Walk (continued)

Facebook Fury
I do read Denison Magazine, so I am flabber-doodled by the attitude of Tug Haines ’01 and his ilk on Facebook (“What Do You Mean You Don’t Like Us?,” Vol. 101, No. 1, p. 8). It is willful ignorance (of the book-burning mentality) to toss a spectacular magazine in the trash out of sheer desire to be noninformed.

The current upswing in people buying into simplistic solutions and using blogs and social media to get their non-informed opinions spread like viruses is truly sobering. People should recognize the merit of engaging and substantive material in this increasingly superficial society. Ignore the Facebookers and
continue to present high-quality material for the truly interested.
Ken Bork
Denison alumni chair and professor
emeritus of geosciences
Granville, Ohio

I was just poring through the magazine thinking, “I love this school. I’m so happy my kid goes here!” Then I ran across the article about the Facebook page with members who throw away every copy of the magazine. It just says more about them than it does about Denison Magazine. As a former journalism
major myself, I just wanted to write to give you a huge pat on the back. You represent the school and its people in the very best possible way. I’m saving this current edition to give to some friends who are looking at Denison for their high school seniors. Thank you, thank you, and thank you for being the voice of one of the most amazing communities of which I’ve ever been a part.
Meg Miller P ’14
Denver, Colo.

Don’t worry about the naysayers, keep on keepin’ on.
Candace Mathews Bridgewater ’67
Fleming Island, Fla.

Don’t let them get you down! I look forward to reading every Denison Magazine from cover to cover. Now retired, I start every morning with my coffee and my computer (in that order please!). However, I love reading print on paper (and on my Nook reader, too). I find the photographs and stories of other alumni who cherish Granville and Denison, as I do, to be uplifting in a turbulent time. And I do not believe that Haines’ anti-print attitude is totally representative of our latest graduates; I know that many positive Facebook comments were made about a photograph from Reunion Weekend (Vol. 101, No. 1, p. 47) that showed my son J.E.B. Slaven ’06 and his fiancée Kathryn Morrisey ’06. This happy Denison reader applauds the Denison Magazine staff!
Emily Evans Slaven ’72
Youngstown, Ohio

Generally, I do read Denison Magazine. I do, however, start from the back to see who has died. I have to tell you also that I have geezer friends who never open the magazine. Personally, the layout and style can be off-putting. On another topic, I read extensively and do not normally cringe at vulgar language, but when it shows up in an alumni magazine, I’m a little taken aback.
Bill Moore ’54
Oakmont, Pa.

Listen, I like Denison magazine. I don’t read it cover to cover, generally, but I always skim through it. And I know many other alumni who do, too. What I don’t appreciate is a whole page dedicated to whining about not being liked. Anyone who’s written a newspaper article, poem, book, blog post, or any other piece of writing for public consumption knows they have to earn the readers’ interest, and that complaining when someone (or a group of people) doesn’t like your work, simply makes you a whiner. That was a pathetic waste of a page (with only the smallest of sidebars dedicated to news that is actually sad, the untimely deaths of two young students). When you give the naysayers attention, you give them what they want. How come the article mentions the 37 people who “like” the anti-Denison Magazine Facebook page but does not mention the 298 people who “like” the official Denison Magazine Facebook page? It’s not a number worth boasting about, but if you’re going to mention the naysayers, give a shout-out to the supporters. I’d be willing to bet the number of folks who support the anti-mag group will grow faster than the group supporting the magazine thanks to that mention. Furthermore, the facing page has a big woe-is-me box containing even more whining about how nobody writes Letters to the Editor (despite the five letters contained on that same page).

If you’re not getting enough feedback, guess what? It’s not because your readers are too lazy. It’s not because they’re too busy commenting on the anti-magazine Facebook page. We’re not doing something wrong. You are. Lots of your readers are also writers—we have to read bad reviews all the time. So buck up. We’ll like you better for it.
Jess Haberman ’06
Guilford, Conn.

I spent 37 years in daily deadline newspaper journalism, most of it with the Detroit Free Press. As a columnist and TV critic, I had my face often attached to my reviews and commentaries. So I heard from readers every single day with calls and letters, and the volume of mail obviously increased heavily after the arrival of the Internet and email. Without fail, the people most likely to rattle my cage were those who disagreed with my views or thought I was—as one anonymous reader so eloquently put it—“a dumb, smiling oaf who should stick my head in a bucket of sh–.” But I learned to enjoy getting all those notes and calls and emails—the good and the bad and sometimes the downright ugly. And I would frequently disarm even my harshest critics by actually answering every note, every email, every ranting voice mail or cranky phone call.

The people who love and enjoy the fabulously redesigned and imaginative Denison Magazine aren’t as likely to write or set up an “I Love Denison Magazine” Facebook page. That was true of my feedback as well. I got plenty of positive reinforcement from readers. But the disgruntled are always more anxious to share their thoughts. And in the age of sometimes narcissism-fueled social networking— Facebook, Twitter, etc.—the screamers are like moths to a flame.
Mike Duffy ’67
Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich.

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