Monday, July 14, 2014

A Sorry Sheryl Sandberg

As you know, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has made herself into something of a feminist thought leader. After teaching women to lean-in and be more assertive on the job, she moved on to her anti-bossy and anti-sorry campaigns.

She launched a campaign to ban the word “bossy” from everyone’s vocabulary, especially as that word had been used to demean women.

Sensing that women use the word “sorry” too often, she declared that women should be less sorry.

One suspects that Sandberg has some serious interest in mind control… especially if she is the one controlling the minds of other people.

In the meantime, a couple of weeks ago the world discovered that Facebook had been trying to manipulate the emotions of its users. Hmmm. Many people took serious offense. An apology was required.

Who better to offer it than a sorry Sheryl Sandberg.

Of course, there are apologies and there are apologies. In particular, there are sincere and insincere apologies. There are apologies that take responsibility and apologies that shift the blame.

The Tech Times reported on the hubbub:

Controversy continues to surround Facebook's psychological experiment with news feeds that was implemented to determine what types of news contents get the most likes and traction in the social network. The reporting in recent days on the topic has led to a backlash against Facebook, which led to the company's Chief Operating Officer (COO) Sheryl Sandberg to speak out about the "poorly communicated" endeavor, but she didn't go as far as to apologize to users, which has led to increased scrutiny of the company.

The 2012 "mood manipulation" study included some 700,000 unsuspecting users that saw Facebook change their news feeds in order to understand what people were liking and sharing with others. While Sandberg said she was disappointed in how Facebook went about the endeavor, she failed to deliver an apology, saying instead that this is what companies are doing currently and she sees nothing wrong with it, just the communication with users.

"This was part of ongoing research companies do to test different products, and that was what it was; it was poorly communicated," Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer, told the Wall Street Journal while travelling in New Delhi. "And for that communication we apologize. We never meant to upset you."

Writing in the Financial Times, Lucy Kellaway declared that Sandberg flunked her apology test. Perhaps Sandberg had a point when she said that women should say that they are sorry less often. 

Kellaway succinctly summarized the problem:

Last week Sheryl Sandberg gave us a perfect lesson in how not to apologise. The Facebook executive declared that the experiment that manipulated the emotions of the website’s users had been “poorly communicated. And for that communication we apologise. We never meant to upset you.”

This was bad on four scores. She didn’t take personal responsibility. She didn’t say sorry for the thing itself. Her “didn’t mean to upset you” was patronising, and worse than that, a lie. The experiment was specifically designed to upset some users, by showing them negative comments. That was the whole point.

Rather than spend her time telling women to stop saying that they are sorry, Sandberg should learn how to take responsibility without condescending, that is, without shifting the blame. More importantly, she should have known how to apologize without excusing herself by saying that it was not her intention to “upset” anyone.

As Kellaway says, upsetting people was precisely the intention. Besides, the word “upset” is also patronizing.

If you offer a sincere apology you will say that you are responsible for having caused pain, regardless of your intentions. Facebook is responsible for its corporate behavior. It did not matter what it meant. 


Kaiser Derden said...

sounds like that affirmative action promotion was and is a failure ...

JP said...

She wasn't "sorry" for the actions of Facebook, if by that you mean she regrets the intents of the actions.

The actions of Facebook were intentional and designed to engage in emotional manipulation experimentation.

She would probably also like to do some more experimentation in emotional manipulation in the future, however she will make sure that she communicates better to avoid the bad publicity.

I'm not sure how she could have apologized better given that Facebook wanted to do what it did.

I prefer this sort of statement from a COO, since it is more honest and provides better clarity with respect to the nature of the organization.

Dennis said...

One of the reasons I have so much dislike for feminism is because they have actively tried to break the love between a father and his daughters. If this does not bring a tear to your eye you might be a feminist for it does mine.

Her hair was up in a pony tail.
Her favorite dress tied with a bow.
Today was Daddy's Day at school,
And she couldn't wait to go.
But her mommy tried to tell her,
That she probably should stay home;
Why the kids might not understand,
If she went to school alone.
But she was not afraid;
She knew just what to say.
What to tell her classmates
Of why he wasn't there today.
But still her mother worried,
For her to face this day alone.
And that was why, once again,
She tried to keep her daughter home.
But the little girl went to school,
Eager to tell them all.
About a dad she never sees, a dad
Who never calls.
There were daddies along the wall in
Back, for everyone to meet.
Children squirming impatiently,
Anxious in their seat.
One by one the teacher called
On a student from the class.
To introduce their daddy,
As seconds slowly passed.
At last the teacher called her name,
Every child turned to stare.
Each of them was searching,
A man who wasn't there.
"Where's her daddy at?"
She heard a boy call out.
"She probably doesn't have one,"
Another student dared to shout.
And from somewhere near the back,
She heard a daddy say,
"Looks like another deadbeat dad,
Too busy to waste his day."
The words did not offend her,
As she smiled up at her Mom.
And looked back at her teacher, who
Told her to go on..
And with hands behind her back,
Slowly she began to speak.
And out from the mouth of a child,
Came words incredibly unique.
"My Daddy couldn't be here,
Because he lives so far away.
But I know he wishes he could be,
Since this is such a special day.
And though you cannot meet him,
I wanted you to know
All about my daddy,
And how much he loves me so.
He loved to tell me stories,
He taught me to ride my bike;
He surprised me with pink roses,
And taught me to fly a kite.
We used to share fudge sundaes,
And ice cream in a cone.
And though you cannot see him.
I'm not standing here alone.
'Cause my daddy's always with me,
Even though we are apart;
I know because he told me,
He'll forever be in my heart"
With that, her little hand reached up,
And lay across her chest.
Feeling her own heartbeat,
Beneath her favorite dress.
And from somewhere there in the crowd of dads,
Her mother stood in tears.
Proudly watching her daughter,
Who was wise beyond her years.
For she stood up for the love
Of a man not in her life.
Doing what was best for her,
Doing what was a right.
And when she dropped her hand back
Down, staring straight into the crowd.
She finished with a voice so soft,
But its message clear and loud.
"I love my daddy very much,
he's my shining star.
And if he could, he'd be here,
But heaven's just too far.
You see he is an American Soldier
And he died just this past year, ,
When a roadside bomb hit his convoy
And taught Americans to fear.
But sometimes when I close my eyes,
it's like he never went away."
And then she closed her eyes,
And saw him there that day.
And to her mother's amazement,
She witnessed with surprise,
A room full of daddies and children,
All starting to close their eyes.
Who knows what they saw before them;
Who knows what they felt inside.
Perhaps for merely a second,
They saw him at her side.
"I know you're with me Daddy,"
to the silence she called out.
And what happened next made believers,
of those once filled with doubt.
Not one in that room could explain it,
for each of their eyes had been closed.
But there on the desk beside her,
was a fragrant long-stemmed pink rose.
And a child was blessed, if only for
a moment, by the love of her shining star.
And given the gift of believing,
that heaven is never too far.

Lastango said...

"Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has made herself into something of a feminist thought leader."

I prefer to think she -- and a team of well-connected progressives -- are making her into something of a politician.

Her anti-bossy campaign is intended to run interference for Hillary by defusing a well-known critique to Hillary's personal style (feminist Germaine Greer had called Hillary "bossy").

IMO, the Democrats are grooming Sandberg to run for president someday. In their view, she would have the right combination of externals to pull women and low-information voters. Posing as smart and technical worked for Obama, and from here on out every Democrat hoping for the nomination will need that aura. Sandberg adds the gloss of presumed private sector leadership and success -- something I consider as questionable as how Obama became Law Review at Harvard.

Lastango said...

Here are a couple of links for background:

Stuart Schneiderman said...

I suspect that you're right about the possibility of a political future... and also about her running interference for HRC.

Though, I think I heard that she has said that, for now, she has no interest in public office.

In many ways her value lies in the fact that she has limitless funds and that, as opposed to certain other feminists, she is rather good looking.

Anonymous said...

Dennis: We all want to get away from our parents. The feminist cleave is to separate mother from father, maternal values from paternal values. Who's going to win that debate in the adolescent and collegiate short-term?

The question is: does it last? I have doubts lesbian behavior is biological. It seems social. Every lesbian I've ever met had SERIOUS "unfinished business" with daddy.

Women are, by their nature, normative. It's the core of their being. Women want to be "in" -- never get ahead or behind... stay in queue, don't stray... you'll get whacked. The queen bee always stays on top, if she reinforces her domination (read: not just power, but domination). In our modern media culture, this means controlling the narrative.

If "in" means in with their husbands or in with their girlfriends, that's the lay of the land. Either way, Democrats get more of women, by default. You've got the sisterhood, by design (the Sex & The City "control over our own bodies" crowd), and the "I agree with my husband, it's important to him" crowd that kept Nicole Kidman in Scientology all those years. That's a nice chunk of the vote... worth playing for perennially. As in, incessantly.

Tough stuff, but that's the lay of the land. The "War On Women" is the battle for the feminine normative mind. That's why they need Hillary, Michelle Obama, Elizabeth Warren, Oprah and Sheryl Sandburg front and center. These are "powerful" women who don't need a man, or have felt the sting of adultery (or of not being the central figure of importance, in the case of M.O.... certainly viewed as a valid form of adultery).

These are modern feministic standards. They are victims. Men are to blame. Follow the normative narrative.


Anonymous said...

Stuart: Sheryl Sandberg does have a political future. She's lying. She wants in. It's a matter of time. She's spent her lifetime on the achievement ladder... look at her resume. She's done her thing in private industry. Now it's time to tell others how to live their lives... it's the next logical progression. After all, she's got the rest of life figured out... why not concentrate on others' lives?

And she's not "rather good looking." She merely coiffed her hair. I guess that's your feminist teromparison. But her "limitless funds" buy a lot of friends. Lean in, indeed.


Dennis said...


I am well aware that good parents know that their children need to grow apart, but that does not mean that that special bond between Mother and son or Father and daughter is any less important. That and consider, this does fold nicely into Sandberg and feminism as it actually exists,
Stuart talks in his book about Freud's obsession with sex and incest specifically. Feminists have used this unfounded non scientific lie to make any action taken by Fathers, or men in general, as sexually oriented. It would be the source of "All you different men are alike." and the grossest type of sexism.
Not withstanding that the Sandbergs of this world cannot in many ways define what feminism is, but only what they think feminism is not. As I have attempted to prove before that this all ties together and should be looked at as systemic problem. Break the family and one breaks the culture. The Marxist tendencies of feminism primary goal was and is that objective. There would be no feminism without the likes of Marxist following.
Sorry if it seemed that I was not on topic, but there is a larger theme /meme here.