A video of Cam Newton getting heckled by a teenager has gone viral. Not a surprise. Newton used the incident as a teachable moment, tweeting that people forget that TV athletes are “real human beings.” Noting that “Cam got a little triggered,” his NFL colleagues quickly came to Newton’s defense, but Steelers tight end Eric Ebron’s tweet got it right: “he ain’t triggered social media give kids to say whatever with no respect.. lol”

But it’s way worse than that. What’s the value of respect or humility in a world where your social media status is the key metric? You don’t know the names of the kids who acted the “right way” in that group. No one should be even slightly surprised by what this teenager did. What’s surprising is that people think he did something wrong. In his mind, and in the digital world we allow our teens to live in, he wasn’t incentivized to do anything else.

Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.

About Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Good Day New York, is a regular commentator on CNN and writes a popular daily business blog. He's a bestselling author, and the creator of the popular, free online course, Generative AI for Execs. Follow @shellypalmer or visit shellypalmer.com.



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