The TikTok Addition: Has a Fortune Magazine Editor Been Up Swiping?

June 2, 2023

Vea4_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_t[1]_thumbNote: This essay is the work of a real and still-alive dinobaby. No smart software involved, just a dumb humanoid.

A colleague called my attention to the Fortune Magazine article boldly titled “Gen Z Teens Are So Unruly in Malls, Fed by Their TikTok Addition, That a Growing Number Are requiring Chaperones and Supervision.” A few items I noted in this headline:

  1. Malls. I thought those were dead horses. There is a YouTube channel devoted to these real estate gems; for example, Urbex Offlimits and a creator named Brandon Moretti’s videos.
  2. Gen Z. I just looked up how old Gen Zs are. According to Mental Floss, these denizens of empty spaces are 11 to 26 years old. Hmmm. For what purpose are 21 to 25 year olds hanging out in empty malls? (Could that be a story for Fortune?)
  3. The “TikTok addition” gaffe. My spelling checker helps me out too. But I learned from a super-duper former Fortune writer whom I shall label Peter V, “Fortune is meticulous about its thorough research, its fact checking, and its proofreading.” Well, super-duper Peter, not in 2023. Please, explain in 25 words of less this image from the write up:


I did notice several factoids and comments in the write up; to wit:

Interesting item one:

“On Friday and Saturdays, it’s just been a madhouse,” she said on a recent Friday night while shopping for Mother’s Day gifts with Jorden and her 4-month-old daughter.

A madhouse is, according to the Cambridge dictionary is “a place of great disorder and confusion.” I think of malls as places of no people. But Fortune does the great fact checking, according to the attestation of Peter V.

Interesting item two:

Even a Chik-fil-A franchise in southeast Pennsylvania caused a stir with its social media post earlier this year that announced its policy of banning kids under 16 without an adult chaperone, citing unruly behavior.

I thought Chik-fil-A was a saintly, reserved institution with restaurants emulating Medieval monasteries. No longer. No wonder so many cars line up for a chickwich.

Interesting item three:

Cohen [a mall expert] said the restrictions will help boost spending among adults who must now accompany kids but they will also likely reduce the number of trips by teens, so the overall financial impact is unclear.

What these snippets tell me is that there is precious little factual data in the write up. The headline leading “TikTok addiction” is not the guts of the write up. Maybe the idea that kids who can’t go to the mall will play online games? I think it is more likely that kids and those lost little 21 to 25 year olds will find other interesting things to do with their time.

But malls? Kids can prowl Snapchat and TikTok, but those 21 to 25 year olds? Drink or other chemical activities?

Hey, Fortune, let’s get addicted to the Peter V. baloney: “Fortune is meticulous about its thorough research, its fact checking, and its proofreading.”

Stephen E Arnold, June 2, 2023


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