Last month, Target announced that they would no longer designate between “boys” and “girls” clothing, bedding, and other items. It was after this that a man named Mike Melgaard came up with a great idea to poke fun at the situation, and in the process, brought some awareness to just how close minded we can be at times. Melgaard created a FaceBook profile that gave the appearance that it was Target’s Customer Service. He waited for people to display their venom on FaceBook and then he began responding, with gems like this:
Melgaard managed to use this FaceBook account for almost 24 hours before being shut down. He had over 75 responses that were not only funny, but they probably made all social media managers out there giggle as the responses are what companies would love to write on social media. Even Target made a sly reference to Melgaard on its own FaceBook page, which was brilliant. While it was snarky, the gag was covered my many major news outlets and gave a glimpse into how people can be so over the top passionate on social media. It also makes you wonder how many of these hate filled comments go by unnoticed.
Well, Melgaard was back at it again this week. This time he created a FaceBook account ‘on behalf of’ Doritos who just recently launched Rainbow Doritos. To give a little background, Rainbow Doritos was created to give support to LGBT teens through the “It Gets Better” Initiative. That group has an incredibly high suicide rate, and Frito Lay took the opportunity to raise awareness to an important segment of our society. As you can imagine, there was some good old hate all over FaceBook. My favorite exchange is below, which also got it a nice shot at Subway along the way.
This FaceBook commenter is talking about ‘child molesters’, when Doritos is raising money for suicide prevention? Its astonishing the comments that people will make when they feel like they are hidden behind the anonymity of the world wide web.
Melgaard was interviewed by the Huffington Post, and put the situation very well.
At the end of the day, I want everyone to see the whole picture, Frito-Lay decided on an idea that would allow for anyone to voluntarily donate to a charity which specializes in suicide amongst the LGBT youth. Why is this important? It’s important because suicide is one of the leading causes of death for these young people. They’re literally killing themselves because they feel rejected and unwanted. The only ‘agenda’ taking place here is to prevent people from taking their own lives. When I break it down like this, I get this sick feeling in my stomach. I find it absolutely heartbreaking that these people are so narrow-minded and unaccepting of others’ views that they mistake everything as a personal attack on how they feel the world should be. I like to believe that what I am doing is productive partly because it sheds light on this type of thinking and how foolish it is. If I get even just one of these people to re-think their position, then in my eyes, I have done something good for the world.
The internet has afforded us the ability to give our opinion as often and as passionately as we want, but it has also fostered a situation without much give and take as you would have in an actual face to face conversation. Because of this, people can be even more fervent without much pushback. If this is Mike Melgaard’s new mission in life to poke fun at people who go over the top on social media, I’ll be following it every step of the way, as its not only funny, but its good for these people to take a step back and reassess the hate they are spewing online.