I don’t spend as much time on Facebook or social media as my writing world demands, although I plan on making greater strides with doing so in 2016. Lately, I have been personally turned off by several posts of some wonderful writers I know and love.
As a reader of these writers, I often wonder if they realize that it is not attractive to post their “poor me” personal situations, their left and right wing politics or their narrow ideologies on the same public and social media meant to promote their work. I use social media as a way to happily engage with readers, friends, colleagues, and family, not to drive my social or political agenda.
I say all of this as I found myself engaged in a rant with a fellow writer whose views on almost everything in life, do not reflect my own. Though my words were not venomous, I left the conversation tongue-lashing myself for making any comment, even though the other writer’s angry words were directed at people who hold my beliefs.
But here is the kicker. The effect of the ranting writer’s post was that I stopped reading their work. I quit telling people that I knew about that writer’s work. Instead of being an advocate for that writer, which I had been, I made a conscious choice to stay silent.
I still care very deeply about that writer. Their work is breathtaking and relevant, but they offended me deeply with their ranting even though it was not directed at me personally.
I guess what I am saying is that a writer, any writer, takes a huge risk of alienating their readers by airing their own biased beliefs, prejudices or politics on social media. One offended reader can defer many others, just as one loyal reader can create many sales.
I am not suggesting that a writer changes who they are or what they believe to appease a buying crowd. Instead, I am suggesting that we, as writers, do not personally know all of our readers, so airing our ideologies and biased opinions in a public forum may alienate a once loyal reader and shatter the persona a reader once believed about us.
It’s time we writer’s “get” the point that the world doesn’t need or want to hear us “vent” about our daily personal woes, nor our public or political views on social media. It can drive a deadly wedge between a favorite author and a loyal reader leaving both parties angry and abandoned.
Tell me if I’m wrong.