Racism. Misogyny. Threats and bullying.
Sometimes we wonder: why are we on social media at all? We’ve all heard the stories or been targets ourselves of online bullying, trolls, threats, and even stalkers. Is it worth putting ourselves out there if this is what we end up with? I don’t know. I have my days just like you. For me, the good outweighs the bad, but I’ve had to develop some new rules.
You may disagree and that’s cool. That’s one of my rules: disagree all you want. I don’t have to force you to agree with me. 🙂
Let’s deconstruct, from the author marketing perspective:
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (and again and again): if you are an author selling a book, talking about politics and religion is fine if you are willing to risk polarizing and losing potential buyers. If you’re cool with that, fine. It’s your dime.
Most people disagree on these issues — they are right, you are wrong. And when you get into heated discussions, particularly on sites like Facebook, where there is little space limitation, tempers flare and arguments can go from polite discourse to flame war in a flash. That said, I believe compassionate discourse is critical to moving society forward. If you follow me, you know that I encourage people to discuss and disagree! Harmony is great and all, but it’s rare to have similar viewpoints from such diverse populations and that’s awesome. We can learn so much from each other if we’re open to it.
Accept that if you do open your social media up to conversations of this nature, you either need to:
It’s like inviting folks to your home for a party and then getting into a fist-fight. Nobody will come back and not only that, they will tell everyone they know to avoid you. From a sales perspective, not very smart.*
(*I use my personal author platform to discuss difficult topics like sexual assault, rape, feminism, and race. I know I tick people off, and I accept that. To me, having these conversations is more important than not having them. It’s a conscious choice. However, I keep them polite and on-topic.)
Too many discussions go from polite to foul in a snap. I have friends on Facebook who have turned on and blocked other friends this week for disagreeing with them on Ferguson, Walmart, Ray Rice, even on cookie recipes. Many heated topics right now. If you are threatening others, using bad language, or being rude to people on social media, chances are they will block you. If you’re cool with that, fine. Again, it’s your author platform, and those are your readers that you are losing. Your choice.
Remember, nothing we do is in a vacuum. Even if you think nobody but your friends and family reads your wall or timeline, think again.
Not because of your beliefs — nope.
Because of your behavior and your language. I’m watching it happen as I write this. Come on, guys: be professional. Don’t hurt your chances. Say your piece — this isn’t Big Brother. But be polite! This is business.
I used to think that I had to have the last word, that I had to correct that troll, or convince him (usually, for whatever reason, it seems to be a guy with me) that I’m justified in saying whatever it is I’m saying. But you know what? I have every right to say what I want to say, just as they do. I have nothing to prove to them. So, rather than waste my time, I block. Not because we disagree — again, I encourage polite discourse and disagreement — but because some people are downright rude or threatening.
On sites like Facebook or Google+, where I may be in a group with someone, I may not block — I simply don’t respond. Guess what? Just because someone makes a comment doesn’t mean we HAVE to like it, or even reply. We have the power to not respond! I know that sounds silly, but it took me a long time to get to that point. We, especially women, feel compelled to be polite, to reply because someone has spoken to us. That’s what good girls do.
In the case of rudeness or trolls, I’m not ignoring them: I’m choosing silence as my response. There’s a difference.
Sometimes, I even delete their comments! Yep, I do that. It goes against my nature to censor people — after all, I am a writer here — but I needed to lay some guidelines down. If people can’t respect me, they don’t deserve my respect either. There’s a pure simplicity in that which appeals to me. While I believe that being polite has its merits, I also believe that my author platform belongs to me. My platform, my rules.
So there you have it. Agree or disagree? What do you do in these situations?
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All content © 2017 by BadRedhead Media aka Rachel Thompson, author, unless otherwise specified. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to use short quotes provided a link back to this page and proper attribution is given to me as the original author.
Rachel Thompson is the author of newly released BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge: How to energize your book sales in a month - created to help authors market their book. She is also the author of Broken Places (one of IndieReader's "Best of 2015" top books and 2015 Honorable Mention Winner in the San Francisco Book Festival), and the multi award-winning Broken Pieces, as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed. She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington Post, IndieReader.com, The San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…), 12Most.com, BookPromotion.com, and Self-Publishers Monthly. Not just an advocate for sexual abuse survivors, Rachel is the creator and founder of the hashtag phenomenon #MondayBlogs, #BookMarketingChat (co-hosted with Melissa Flickinger) and #SexAbuseChat, co-hosted with certified therapist/survivor, Bobbi Parish all live Twitter chats. She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.