How Can We Achieve Age Diversity in Silicon Valley?
Steven Levy

Fighting the Power by Starting a YouTube Channel

First, thank you so much for writing about this!!! I have noticed this problem for some time, however, I also have the issue of being a woman working in technology, and have felt that sting, as well.

As a tech publicist for the last twenty years (I’ve pitched you many times), it gets harder and harder to find a new job after the few layoffs I’ve experienced. So this fall, at 48, I decided to add some new skills to my repertoire and take the Digital Marketing class at Los Angeles’ General Assembly. I was the clearly the oldest person in the class, though I tried not be self-conscious about it. I think the teacher may have even been a few years younger than me! I was wondering where my peers were. All of us in the class had some knowledge within this topic, but we were all there to learn the subject more in-depth. In fact, a few of the students were actually already digital marketers, and they had no shame in taking this course. So, where were people my age? I’m sure I wasn’t the only person my age who saw value in this class?

This also makes me wonder why hiring managers think that only young people can be social media managers. On the Internet no one can see you tweet, so they never see your age. Public relations has extended to social media and along the way, I have figured that shit out. My traditional PR background only helps me in the pursuit of social media so I don’t understand why recruiters haven’t seen the value in my experience. I apply for the jobs, but just get crickets.

I have another friend who’s in his later fifties and can’t find a job as an advertising art director. He said they all want someone young. He’s still creative, talented, up-to-date with the technology skills of his trade, and yet, they won’t even look at his resume because of his date of birth. So, now he’s an Uber driver, trying to figure out what to do next. Maybe it’s not just tech.

I try not to think this way, but perhaps it just sucks to get old?

Obviously, I haven’t completely given up, as I did take that class. I actually currently work at a tech start-up as a copy editor (though a year ago I almost went back to school to retrain as a family therapist, thinking age may not matter in that job).

In addition, I’m starting my own comedic YouTube channel (Tracy Unfiltered) because I think my generation is woefully under-represented on YouTube. There were no older creators at VidCon, just parents with their kids. I thought, hey, let’s change that. I can make videos; I am a film school graduate. So, here goes nothing. My first show, Mom, please, (about how embarrassing I am to the teenage daughter that initially dragged me to VidCon) has a couple of episodes up. It would be awesome to finally see Generation X represented on YouTube. I’d love to be a featured creator on that stage someday. Fight the power and never give up!

The only way to change this diversity issue is to keep pushing against it and keep your own mind open to diversity of all kinds.

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Tracy Bagatelle-Black’s story.