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An Invitation for Cathryn Sloane

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We'd love to offer Cathryn Sloane a scholarship to attend New Media Expo and the Social Media Business Summit.

Dear Cathryn,

Over the last weekend a lot has been said both for and against your position that social media managers should be under the age of 25. As you know, there was quite a bit of outrage from the over 25 year olds who felt you were off base. While most of us who posted offered the reasons why social media professionals can be older, not too many of us reached out to support or mentor you in your goal to become a social media manager.

The New Media Expo team may not all agree with your stance, but we admire your guts and willingness to speak your mind despite the repercussions. However, while we agree the discussion of ageism is an important one, it’s not helping with a deeper issue: helping to educate recent college grads so they can find work and become productive, positive members of the social media community.

With this in mind, we would like to offer you an all expense paid scholarship to New Media Expo in January. We’d like to fly you out to Las Vegas, put you up at the Rio Hotel and Casino where NMX will take place, and offer you a full access pass to attend New Media Expo and the Social Media Business Summit.

If you attend NMX, the conference formerly known as BlogWorld,  you’ll have the opportunity to:

  • Learn from many of the top social media and content creation professionals in this field.
  • Learn about new tools and technology.
  • Meet the people who hire social media professionals.
  • Network with potential mentors, collaborators and employers.
  • Meet the authors of many of today’s top social media and business books.

The NMX community is one that is warm and welcoming. If you attend, you’ll find our speakers, sponsors, exhibitors and attendees nothing short of supportive. Sit down at any table in the New Media Lounge and have a thoughtful discussion with other like minded people. Everyone is friendly and they love nothing better than helping others succeed.

The other day when I said “get off my lawn,” I should have instead invited you in, offered you a place to sit, and asked how I could help you achieve your goals.

Please contact me at deb(at)blogworldexpo(dot)com so we can talk about how to make this happen.

Sincerely,

Deb Ng
Director of Community NMX

 


Feedback

70
  • karyncooks

    Very mature position to take. I, too, said “get off my lawn.”

  • karyncooks

    Very mature, seasoned, and reasonable approach.  I, too, said “get off my lawn.”

  • DerekOverbey

    This is an interesting turn of event. I wonder if Ms. Sloane will take you up on your most generous offer. I really hope she does.

    • debng

       @DerekOverbey I hope so too, Derek. The social media community is one that is quite forgiving and generous. I would love to show Cathryn around and introduce her to people like you.

  • coffeewithjulie

    Personally, I loved your post on this topic and thought you had been quite kind to Cathryn Sloane. This offer to NMX goes above and beyond kind, but I love it too! What amazes me every time I attend NMX in New York is how many people my age (40) and older are completely immersed in new media and perhaps an opportunity to attend NMX for herself will bring a greater understanding of us “oldies.”

    • debng

       @coffeewithjulie Thank Julie – and as happy as I am to see so many social media professionals our age, we’re going to need to pass the torch eventually. To do so with confidence requires patience, forgiveness and education.

      • coffeewithjulie

         @debng Patience isn’t really my thing, but I’m all for forgiveness and education. We all make mistakes and we all learn from mistakes. I’d happily buy Cathyrn Sloane a (highly overpriced!) Jarvis Center coffee and talk social media. I’m sure she could teach me lots of interesting things.

  • jasonkonopinski

    Kudos to you and the rest of the @blogworldexpo team, Deb. An excellent gesture of good faith and mentorship. I hope she responds. 

  • JTDabbagian

    That’s very generous of Y’all. I really do hope she accepts…at the very least, the networking she will do will work wonders. 

  • andrewghayes

    Bravo. 

    • ianmcleary

       @andrewghayes Hey Andrew, fancy meeting you here 🙂  Are you going to Vegas !!!

      • debng

         @ianmcleary  @andrewghayes He better!

      • andrewghayes

         @ianmcleary Yes I believe so!  (Geeze @debng .)

        • ianmcleary

           @andrewghayes  @debng Great stuff.  It would be great to meet you in person!!!

  • ianmcleary

    I came over from Ireland to blogworld in New York in June and loved the conference.  What I liked most about the conference was sitting around the table chatting to people.  I bought the virtual ticket so I could watch the events when I came home!
    I have already booked in for Las Vegas.  It was by far the best conference I have attended.  Mainly because of the friendly people I met.
    I also met Deb sitting at a table in the new media lounge 🙂
     
    Ian

    • debng

       @ianmcleary I remember, Ian! And I’m so happy to see you came back to the blog to visit us. Please don’t be a stranger – and, yes, I’ll be keeping office in the New Media Lounge again in Las Vegas so I hope we can chat again.

      • ianmcleary

         @debng We certainly will!!!  I’ll have to read your book before we meet again!  
        Vegas Vegas Vegas…. can’t wait!!!

  • mikestenger

    Bonus points if she’s on a panel moderated by Jordan Cooper 🙂

    • debng

       @mikestenger We actually discussed that internally. What if we had some of the younger members of our community and some of the older members of our community have a panel discussion whether or not age makes a difference in social media?

      • mikestenger

        @debng It’s a good idea in theory, but I think most people can agree that age isn’t nearly as important as experience, personality, and work ethic.

        • debng

           @mikestenger  @debng Absolutely. And probably by January, no one will care anymore.

  • LynetteRadio

    I’ve seen the opinion that Cathryn has put forward in her blog post – even interviewed a few. The funny thing about all this is *it has nothing to do with the actual tools of social media or digital publishing* but it’s all about business. I’m sorry, some 25 year olds do have the business chops to handle it, but most have not had enough seasoning and marinating in the fires in the real business world to make me want to hire them. I have hired people in the past without ‘social media’ experience because they had solid business sense. The social media stuff and tools are easy to learn.

  • CareerTips2Go

    It’s interesting that she states, “The truth is, regardless of age, some people have a better handle on social media than others”, then follow up with “Yet, every time I see a job posting for a Social Media Manager/Associate/etc. and find the employer is looking for five to ten years of direct experience, I wonder why they don’t realize the candidates who are in fact best suited for the position actually aren’t old enough to have that much experience.
     
    Make up your mind Catherine…and remember those same employers could be sued for age discrimination!
     
    Nice gesture Deb, in sending her an invitation to your next conference.

  • explorionary

    Deb, this is a smart and super classy move. Much respect to you and your team.

  • LBKinson

    This is a very generous offer, Deb; however, I don’t think it is deserved. Cathryn has had 4 days to respond to the myriad of responses hurled at her, and yet… crickets.
     
    I’m under 25, and if Cathryn’s article had been well-received I would have been in the prime light to demand every community manager position I could get my hands on. Alas, now I have to defend myself because of her actions against countless 25+ers who are now looking (rightfully so) down on my generation. Actions of hers that have gone unanswered. I do not agree with her in the slightest, and am thankful that the marketing community has caused such an uproar about her claims. I have SO many social media professionals that I look up to who are over the age of 25 and a mere mention on Twitter from them MAKES MY DAY. She should be throwing herself on all of the responses she’s had.
     
    You say you “admire [Cathryn’s] guts and willingness to speak [her] mind despite the repercussions,” and yet, isn’t that what being in the real world is all about? Why are you rewarding her for speaking this mind but not following through with any conversation sparked by her?
     
    I think a better response from NMX would have been an open scholarship for all us under-25-ers to apply to. I’m sure you would have had countless applications. Mine included.

    • debng

       @LBKinson
      This is an opportunity to lead by example. Cathryn did take the initiative and put this who age thing out there, and while I absolutely agree with you that she should be responding to all the comments and accusations, I also think we have a wonderful opportunity to show Cathryn that the people in our community – both young and old – know their stuff. We can learn from her and she can learn from us. If she didn’t bring it up, would we be having a conversation about ageism and professionalism? Probably not.
       
      This wasn’t about a free trip, or rewarding Catherine. Instead, it’s about arming someone who is frustrated about the lack of jobs with the tools she’ll need to succeed.
       

      • LBKinson

         @debng I think there are plenty of other places the conversations about both ageism and professionalism are already happening. The Next Web and The Next Great Generation both cover GenY news constantly with input from both sides of the cohort.
         
        And I do think you’re sending the message of rewarding Cathryn. Even if you’re touting it as a learning experience, it is still a trip and pass to an expo that many of us under 25 cannot afford because of where we are in our careers. I’m frustrated with the lack of jobs, too; but I have one, and I show up every day and contribute. I have yet to see the value of her article beyond complaining and as a clear example of pure opinion and little-to-no fact to back it up.
         
         @mikestenger I’ve already talked with quite a few GenXers who blanket statemented their response to her article as: “Just another example of GenY being ignorant and arrogant.” I’ve responded to them as much as possible with, “What about me, the one you’ve worked and collaborated with??” which changes their tune; but that doesn’t discount their initial reaction that our generation is ill-informed when it comes to knowing our place on the totem pole.
         
        I wasn’t saying an open scholarship to any person under 25 who wants to go to NMX. I was saying have an application process, decide on one or two really great people in the workforce who would LOVE to attend but may not have the financials to (ahem…me) and afford them the luxury of attending their great event. Quite a few big expos and conferences have discounted student rates or ways for more fortunate ticket purchasers to “sponsor” a younger/poorer ticket… I have yet to see that on NMX’s site, so this was just an option I was throwing their way.

        • debng

           @LBKinson  @mikestenger  Did you know that NMX has been offering a 60% off rate for the past month (that ends today)? We did that to make it more affordable for content creators and young people. We got a very low rate from the Rio too, so it can be more affordable. Also, if Cathryn doesn’t respond, I suggested to my team that we offer they opportunity for those under 25 or recent grads to apply for it instead.
           
          I understand why you’re upset, but we would like to offer this opportunity to Cathryn as we think she can really benefit from the experience. The bottom line is that Cathryn got our attention and we see this as a good opportunity for her. 

        • mikestenger

           @LBKinson  But our generation is ill-informed. That’s the reality, as evidenced by Cathryn’s post. Doesn’t mean everyone is of course. Regarding discounted tickets for those that are younger, why do they deserve a cheaper ticket than someone that’s older? Seems to go back to the whole entitlement mentality.
           
          And as @debng said, there has been a discount for quite a while now. You clearly haven’t even looked at buying a ticket.

        • LBKinson

           @mikestenger  @debng I did look at buying a ticket, as soon as they went up (thank you Google alerts!). Unfortunately just because there’s a discount doesn’t mean it’s affordable.

        • mikestenger

           @LBKinson  @debng Gotcha. Affordable all depends on the person. 60% is already a huge discount. Anymore and they’d practically be giving them away.

      • piercingmetal

         @debng  @LBKinson Hey Deb, the part where you say “I also think we have a wonderful opportunity to show Cathryn that the people in our community – both young and old – know their stuff. We can learn from her and she can learn from us” comes off as kissing up to this nobody.  As a Metal music scribe I hear all too often about the status quo for my genre from non-experts and do I offer to sit them down and extol the forms virtues?  No, I actually don’t care what the people who would throw excrement at me think.  To me they miss all the time and are insignificant.  Aiming to point out to Cathryn what good our various aged providers offer totally comes off as trying to win her over like she was some celebrity.  I would aim this more at O’Reilly whose reporter made the whole event seem foolish.  Sorry, I am not as cool with people being catered too for being close minded.  My three cents. 

        • debng

           @piercingmetal  @LBKinson I don’t think it’s kissing up to offer someone a wonderful opportunity, Ken. We can all sit her and point fingers and show our outrage or we can reach out and make a difference. We’d rather make a difference than raise pitchforks.

    • mikestenger

       @LBKinson First of all, why do you have to defend yourself because of her actions? I highly doubt a potential employer or client will reference her article when considering you for a job or gig. I’m 22 years old and have worked in the industry full-time since 2010. Since this incident, my peers, the majority of which who are much older than I, don’t treat me any differently.
       
      I don’t think Deb or the team at NMX are rewarding her at all, but by helping her get more insight and knowledge that way if she does truly want a career in social media, she can get it.
       
      It’s a nice gesture. An open scholarship for anyone under 25 to get into NMX for free? As great as that may sound, we’re talking about a business here. Also, if they were to allow anyone under 25 to attend for free, don’t you think there’d be some considerable backlash by those who are older? You betcha.

      • Jay Thompson

         @mikestenger I don’t think @LBKinson was suggesting making NMX free for anyone under 25. She said, “I think a better response from NMX would have been an open scholarship for all us under-25-ers to *apply to*.” (My emphasis)

        • LBKinson

           @Jay Thompson  @mikestenger Precisely 🙂 Clarified above, as well. Thanks Jay!

        • blogworld

           @LBKinson  @Jay Thompson  @mikestenger Yet another “mature” person helping a younger colleague make their point. Well done Jay =p.
           
          LB if you can take a look at my reply to Ken @piercingmetal up above.

    • TheVoiceOfGenY

       @LBKinson Yes! I absolutely agree that a scholarship to all under 25-year-olds would have been much more appropriate. We need mentorship and valued appreciation. We (you, me and many more Millennials) don’t feel the way Cathryn does or perhaps did about over 25-year-old social media managers. However, I think the under 25s deserve a lot more respect from older generations because, afterall, we did enter into adulthood with social media at our fingertips. There is a lot to be said about how wonderful we are as a young generation.
       
      Cathryn was in the wrong, but so was everyone who jumped on her. We should be helping our Millennials achieve greatness, not tearing them down for having an opinion. She obviously wasn’t or isn’t exposed to many over 25 social media managers, but that doesn’t mean everyone needs to beat her up for it. Kindly inform her that is simply not the case, and remind her that Millennials stem from 18-40yrs. If we are to take over the professional world in the next 5-15 years, we need the older generations to be rooting for us, instead of rejecting our potential. And we need our peers to be properly exposed and educated about their professional environments and attributes. 
       
      I hope NMX takes you up on your offer. That would be the best way to support the generation!

      • delray beach seo

        @TheVoiceOfGenY
        I think it’s great that the 40+ generation is getting into social media…
        My mother probably couldn’t even log onto Facebook, but all it takes is a little tutorial, and everyone can do it!!!!
        I am creating a page on my site that will have a step by step on how to get started in the social media world…
        <a href=”http://www.seojus.com>delray beach seo</a?
         
         

      • delray beach seo

        @TheVoiceOfGenY
        I think it’s great that the 40+ generation is getting into social media…
        My mother probably couldn’t even log onto Facebook, but all it takes is a little tutorial, and everyone can do it!!!!
        I am creating a page on my site that will have a step by step on how to get started in the social media world…
         
         

      • delray beach seo

         @TheVoiceOfGenY 
        .
        I think it’s great that the 40+ generation is getting into social media…
        My mother probably couldn’t even log onto Facebook, but all it takes is a little tutorial, and everyone can do it!!!!
        I am creating a page on my site that will have a step by step on how to get started in the social media world…
         
        <a href=”http://www.seojus.com”>delray beach seo</a>

      • delray beach seo

         @TheVoiceOfGenY 
        I think it’s great that the 40+ generation is getting into social media…
        My mother probably couldn’t even log onto Facebook, but all it takes is a little tutorial, and everyone can do it!!!!
        I am creating a page on my site that will have a step by step on how to get started in the social media world…
         
        <a href=”http://www.seojus.com>delray beach fl seo</a>
        <a href=”http://www.seojus.com”>delray beach seo</a>
         

      • delray beach seo

         @TheVoiceOfGenY 
        <a href=”google.com”>Google</a>

    • delray beach seo

       @LBKinson I think it’s great that the 40+ generation is getting into social media…
      My mother probably couldn’t even log onto Facebook, but all it takes is a little tutorial, and everyone can do it!!!!

  • LadywithaMic

    Please consider having your team offer the scholarship to someone over 60, as well, if Cathryn doesn’t take it.

  • Rachael Depp

    I died when I read that you previously wrote “get off my lawn.” If this girl doesn’t show up and talk to people in the flesh she will be an outcast at 25 online. Quite ironic for a social media mini diva. I have heard about that article from all arenas and people from different parts of the country in social media.. I had no idea it was going to spread at that level.
     
    Well looks like we shall just wait. *gets popcorn*
    I do agree with having a senior citizen there IN PLACE of this aging spring chicken.

  • SarahArrow

    That’s a generous offer to make Deb and I sincerely hope Cathryn takes you up on it.
     
    I can understand the “get off my lawn comment”, but you’ve reflected upon it and acted accordingly. Reaching out and educating people is what social media is all about in my book.

  • HeatherMorrison

    OK.. nice offer. Social Media – back in 1994 when I was a beta tester for MSNChat there wasnt a thing called Social Media and ads werent part of the game. In 2012 I have moved to Denmark from Canada to be with the man I met in a chatroom in 1995 and was told by my friends I was losing it! Look where we are now.. Social Media Professionals discussing ageism. The key is to constantly be finding ways to connect and share ideas and thoughts. Cathryn shared her views and thankfully she has been heard. What was the likelyhood of a response like she has received back in 1994?
     
    To me this is an opportunity for all of us – in all our stages of life to connect, share and learn. Cathryn put the conversation out there. It evoked all sorts of emotional reaction – what Social Media strives to acheive. Perhaps her views are immature or naive but they are her honesty. That needs to be addressed and Social Media has provided an opportunity for that which was not available in the past.
     
    The key here is that we all continue to learn..even us over 25s who maybe should learn to think before we toss off the opinions of an under 25 with angry vitriol and bullish spit. Perhaps we have all learned something about ourselves. No matter what the medium.. and as Marshall MacLuhan said.. “the medium is the message” – we should THINK first…then possibly speak.
     
    So I look at this offer as a remorseful apology and acknowlegement that two wrongs dont always get us to right but this is a damn good try.
     
    Back to coffee and the dog.. who doesnt know she has a social media profile and frankly; I think, wouldnt give a damn.
     
    H

  • Jay Thompson

    Given that Cathryn has made absolutely ZERO effort to engage on her post, or any other related one that I have seen, I’d be shocked if she accepts your generous offer.
     
    I hope she does. But given her deafening silence since her piece was published, if I were a betting man I’d lay down money she won’t accept.

  • eileenludwig

    ok How can I get that same offer? No one under XXX age but it is a much higher number 🙂

  • piercingmetal

    Personally I don’t think she deserves such an offer.  You’re being far too kind to someone who doesn’t even have a sense of ownership of her own article statements.  I think that the free trip to the seminars and all that is better used for someone who is struggling out there in the scene and not willing to piss on a large amount of its true demographic.

    • debng

       @piercingmetal Have you ever made a mistake, Ken? Have you ever said something you regret or made a silly error that had big repercussions? Have you ever posted something and wished you could take it back? I have, and thanks to people who didn’t call me a “nobody” I picked myself up, dusted off my knees, and made it right. 
       
      Every since I posted the invitation to Cathryn, I’ve gotten a bunch of “She doesn’t deserve it, I do. Send me instead!!!” tweets and comments. The truth is, she got our attention. She got your attention, she got my attention and she got the whole social media community’s attention. We’re not rewarding her as much as we’re giving her an opportunity to learn – and from us to learn from her in the process. From what I gather from Cathryne’s other posts, she’s frustrated at the lack of opportunities for young people. Well, I’ve been there too. You know what makes a good team? All ages working together and learning from each other.
       
      We can all pile on, call her names and tell her why she’s wrong, or, we can act in the true spirit of social media and offer her a leg up.

      • piercingmetal

         @debng @blogworld Guys I realize that I was a little tough in my comment but you know, as someone who has made a handful of mistakes, if even by accident, there were repercussions and some that had parties actively seek to stifle my brand as the outcome because of them.  No olive branch or “come and see how we are doing things” was ever offered so I guess that hit a nerve in me.  In any event this all has made Miss Sloane famous and she is probably in some sense laughing at all the attention she has made for herself.  If she is not, then I hope she has learned from it and in the future stands by her words when she makes them.  I think part of the success of any social media posting is your stance and belief behind the statement.  At this point she should have come up with a counter article citing how she knows how she pissed people off and either doesn’t care and can show why or apologizing for being insensitive.  Most of the people she ires will be the ones at the end of the hiring table in many cases.  That seems far worse than any mosh pit (unless the fans are doing that karate kick nonsense 🙂 – Anyways.  Good luck, I will be watching from the sidelines.

    • blogworld

       
      @piercingmetal     
      in Metal terms Ken, Deb is offering to throw her into the mosh pit and see how she comes out =p.
       
      Seriously I understand why you and several other people would be upset and believe that someone else was more deserving or that Cathryn is completely undeserving.
       
      We certainly don’t see this as any kind of reward. We see this as an opportunity to change someone’s mind by giving them more information.
       
      We have made similar offers to people who have made critical comments about BlogWorld (now NMX) in the past without ever having been to the show. Every time someone takes us up on our offer they come away from the experience with a completely different opinion. An informed opinion. That was the entire point of this open letter to Cathryn.
       
      Other times people have replied to say “no thanks. I don’t need to come to you stupid show to know you suck” Or something to that effect. We think that says more about them that it does about us.
       
      The ball is now in Cathryn’s court. She can accept; which by the way is not going to be easy for her. She would be stepping in to the lion’s den and that is going to take some courage. The pretty resounding and quite vocal consensus from our entire community is that she wrote something pretty damn stupid.
       
      I agree of course.
       
      But facing up to that; which she hasn’t done yet, and admitting her mistake would be a pretty big step in the process of growing up for her. It’s one thing to do something stupid in front of your family and friends, or even your own blogging community, it’s quite another to have the entire social media community from mom bloggers, marketing bloggers even Metal bloggers (and you know what a rough bunch they are Ken p) all come down on your head at the same time.
       
      I sincerely hope she accepts our offer and I know our entire community including you will allow her to admit her mistake and learn from it.
       
      Isn’t that one of the things we all learn in social media?
       
      We all make mistakes, but when we publicly admit them and try to make amends for those mistakes we show far more about our character or of our companies character than if we never made a mistake in the first place?
       
      This isn’t just a teaching moment for Cathryn. It’s a time for all of us to walk the walk and give someone the opportunity to learn from a mistake and make amends.
       
      All that being said, we have also talked about providing some sort of scholarship to one or more deserving young bloggers and aspiring community managers. We don’t see these two things competing at all. Giving away a scholarship would have a completely different motivation and goal behind it.

  • blogworldexpo

    @petejitsu There will be no public stoning at NMX. We’re about second chances, not pitchforks and angry villagers.

  • blogworld

    @ProfessorDino we certainly dont want it to be the latter Dino

    • ProfessorDino

      @blogworld Let’s hope the audience behaves. We’re all professionals, right?

  • TheVoiceOfGenY

    I think this is brilliant. As a Millennial myself, I disagreed with Carolyn’s position, seeing how many people under 25 are unemployed and most social media managers are between 25-40. However, the invitation to the expo will not only expose her to the vast amount of over 25 year old bloggers and social media professionals, but may also change her perspective and humble her opinion. Gen Y is young in the professional game, but we are dedicated just the same and more likely to adapt faster. She, like the rest of us, needs good mentorship, and I think this is a great place to meet that demand. 

  • TheVoiceOfGenY

    I think this is brilliant. As a Millennial myself, I disagreed with Cathryn’s position, seeing how many people under 25 are unemployed and most social media managers are between 25-40. However, the invitation to the expo will not only expose her to the vast amount of over 25-year-old bloggers and social media professionals, but may also change her perspective and humble her opinion. Gen Y is young in the professional game, but we are dedicated just the same and more likely to adapt faster. She, like the rest of us, needs good mentorship, and I think this is a great place to meet that demand. 

  • Danny Brown

    Will you be offering the same opportunity to someone that’s doing things really well, too? To show the “over 25’s” that are decrying Cathryn’s original post that not everyone should be viewed the same (whether Cathryn was right or wrong is immaterial, that’s in the eye of the beholder and common sense). But seems only fair you offer the same chance to someone on the other side of the coin.

  • Ronie Walter

    I really like the way you described.I have to say I really like reading this alot. It’s obvious that your knowledge of the subject is deep and this made for a very interesting read. That’s is awesome stuff. Thanks for this insightful post.I seldom expect much from online informational content these days, but you really got my interest. 

  • LadywithaMic

    I like the spirit of forgiveness and chance for her to learn, even if I do disagree with giving her something a lot of older people can’t afford  because she started this discussion and voiced her opinion.
     
    Would have to agree with Danny, though.  The word “young” keeps coming up here: “let’s help the under-25 set.”  How ABOUT the other side of the coin? A lot of these people posting are also passionate about age discrimination; where’s their opportunity to learn more about new media at NMX?
    We’ve all made mistakes, generalized, said truly stupid things.  If someone over 60 (which I’m choosing because I’m UNDER 60, so therefore don’t qualify) makes a mistake like that, and voices an issue about which they feel passionate, will they get a scholarship too?
     
    I hope so–and if Cathryn comes to NMX, it will be interesting to hear what she has to say–before and after.

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