The ‘What About Us’ Fallacy

The “What about us” fallacy is when a person creates something aimed at audience X, but audience Y wants to know why they weren’t talked about. Often, this looks like, “Well, what about us?!” in YouTube comments, Twitter replies, or professional critiques.

Here’s my favorite example:

A 22-year-old who works in finance, listens to Huberman, and loves their morning routine.

They post a morning routine tweet—that’s probably to gain some attention, sure—that’s helpful for other 18-25-year-olds because many people in that demographic struggle to create routines post-high school and college. Seeing someone in their shoes helps them figure out what they can do better.

But then 34-year-olds with three kids under five creep into the conversation. “I’d like to see what they would do if they had kids!” “Yeah, right. I don’t even have five seconds for myself in the morning.” “Wow, wait until you have a two-year-old who doesn’t sleep.”

Behold the “what about us” fallacy.

The 22-year-old’s intended audience was not 34-year-olds with kids. They said nothing about the difficulty of having kids; they were talking to audience X, not audience Y.

Before you attempt to start a debate, critique someone else’s lifestyle, or otherwise be negative online, ask yourself, “Is this piece of content supposed to be for me?”

If it’s not, move on.

If it is, don’t comment either. Life’s too short to spend time disagreeing with strangers online.