Please send a thank you note after reading

Also please archive your Instagram posts.

Welcome to gen yeet. Today, we’ll talk about how our views of labor have changed over time (and across generations), why Instagram’s archive tool is one of the best things on its platform, and the latest TikTok viral dance move.

As with many controversies online, it started with a tweet.

This is the executive managing editor of Business Insider, who claims that she has operated on one simple, ✨golden rule ✨over 10 years of hiring people: “If someone doesn’t send a thank you email, don’t hire them.” In the blog, Ms. Lieberman admits that some people ardently disagree with this rule. Still, she stands by it because — in her words — how else will the company know if a candidate is a good egg? 🥚“The thank-you email is a mark for the good egg column,” she wrote.

As a young journalist (precariously stuck in internship purgatory), I surely am not in a position to criticize the media industry’s hiring practices. Many folks on Twitter have noted that Ms. Liebman’s obstinate fixation toward thank you notes disadvantages applicants who lack the knowledge of these cultural formalities (ex: first generation students, immigrants) or are simply not comfortable with reaching out.

This incident stands out because I’ve noticed a generational shift in the way young millennials and Gen Z-ers discuss labor. We live under the religion of workism, an Atlantic piece claims: Our work, our vocation, and our passions have fused into our identity. But we’ve come to value our labor.

Through social media platforms, even the most niche hobbies and lifestyles can become monetized labor. Children grow up aspiring to be Youtubers. Teenagers rake in thousands of dollars selling slime. Nothing is done for free anymore. In fact, unpaid work is frowned upon and institutions that encourage free labor are shamed. We’re aware that, as employees, the talents we bring to the table are unique, and we defy the long-standing belief that our labor is replaceable. Wages (and wage inequality) are discussed. Unions are on the rise for workers under age 35: Digital media is one example of an industry pushing to unionize in the face of instability.

Gen Z-ers grew up in a period of financial uncertainty: The 2008 stock market crash ushered in high rates of unemployment and foreclosures. Nothing is for certain, we learned early on — not even if you have a college degree. A 2014 Northeastern survey found that Gen Z-ers are interested in entrepreneurship and 42% of respondents wanted to work for themselves some day.

The freelance economy is booming, and it’s driven by younger workers. The phrase “building your own brand” is generally understood by my cohort. (What do you think this newsletter is? My brand, potentially to help me secure a job? Why yes!) In this capitalistic society, what can we rely on to make money besides ourselves? Historically, our physical bodies are tied to labor power. Today, our digital persona/body (and potential for influence over others) represents that labor.

Ms. Lieberman’s post faced so much backlash because, in part, our view of labor is changing. We no longer want to grovel for attention from corporations and hiring managers. And what if that makes us the job-less generation? Well, we’ll have to wait and see.

Instagram’s archive tool exists for a reason

I lurk on people’s social media a lot. I’m fully aware of the online persona I’ve crafted (she’s a cooler, snarkier version of me IRL) — maybe bordering on hyper-awareness. Others aren’t, so it’s always fun to scroll through someone’s Instagram and encounter a terribly filtered photo (dated back to, like, 2014) with an embarrassing caption and tasteless hashtags (back when hashtags brought exposure to your content).

The archive tool is one of the best functions Instagram has released. Use it.

This piece in Mel Magazine addresses the phenomenon of Instagram purging — when someone (usually a teen) deletes every photo on their feed. Why? Most Gen Z-ers view social media as an ever-changing representation of themselves. When a photo no longer fits their personality or aesthetic or mood, it’s easy (and simple) to delete. A digital cleanse symbolizes a fresh start. And if you’re sentimental like me, the archive tool is there for a reason.

This section is called ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

GOT MEMES?

If you do not understand what that crazy emoji is, fear not. It is a viral dance move called “Hit the Woah” that has resurged in popularity through TikTok. Here is a 4-minute compilation video if you’re curious of how it looks.

SOME GOODREADS, ACCORDING TO ME:

  • YEE HAW: Apparently, Lil Nas X’s claim to fame (before Old Town Road) is his Nicki Minaj stan Twitter account. The man is a damn icon. (NY Mag)

  • If you’re into Korean drama-style family clashes, this three-piece investigation into the Murdoch family is for you. (NYT)

  • I always knew CorePower was shady, but not MLM scheme-level shady. I had friends who would work as receptionists there for free in exchange for classes, so 👀 (NYT)

  • Right-wing groups are training the next generation of social media warriors to win the ideological meme wars (Mother Jones)

I’m heading to New York next weekend, so I’ll be out of your inbox for a bit. Please DM me any recommendations for food and fun! The soundtrack to this newsletter is “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X and “Fake Nice” by The Aces. I wrote this at 1 a.m., please clap.

terry nguyen