My highly-opinionated, redheaded self simply cannot resist sharing my thoughts on politics and spreading the word about potentially bad bills to my social network followers.
During my time in journalism, I was very careful to keep my opinions out of life. I felt like it would be too easy for people to say I was biased in some way if they knew how I voted.
Now, I’m FREE – and plan to enjoy my freedom of speech – at least until the Uncle Sam takes over the Internet. (Stay informed on this issue because it could eventually impact your ability to market online. It is about more than political parties; it is about your freedom to be online.)
Several authors have told me they don’t get into political discussions online because they are afraid of losing sales, or turning fans against them. A few received nasty comments from others and decided it just wasn’t worth it.
I understand this point of view, but it also makes me even more determined to share my own opinion – despite the fact that some may not like it. In this wonderful nation that we live we have the right to express ourselves and tell others where we stand. No matter if we are a political commentator or a children’s book author, we should feel comfortable enough to stand up for issues that are important to us because it is a RIGHT – one that is unique among the nations.
Being respectful is really key to engaging in political discussions. Most will respect you for it. One book marketer sent me scathing Tweets when I shared a link to a conservative news story around election time. This person told me I was, in a polite word, unlearned, and sent several other Tweets with similar messages. I made certain never to promote this person’s forums, blogs or advice – EVER – even if it was sound. I also never engaged this person, because their agenda was to devalue me as a person, rather than having a conversation about the issues.
However, on the flip side, I’ve had several people I work with professionally who disagree with how I feel, but they talk to me about it – even in short 140 bursts or Wall posts. We actually get to understand each other on the issues – even if it doesn’t change our minds.
We still like each other. We still talk book marketing. We still share links to job-related posts. It has not had a major negative impact on my career.
The way to talk politics on social media is doing it logically, fairly and with manners that would put Emily Post to shame. Don’t use profanity and don’t be caustic. Don’t bother engaging idiots who are more interested in 140 characters of snarkiness than actually conversing about an issue. And always – always – verify your links and info in them before you promote.
It is OK if you don’t feel comfortable talking politics. It certainly isn’t for everyone. Before you censor yourself, however, think about ways you can approach issues that will be courteous to others – and respectful to fans who may disagree.
What issues have you had when talking politics in social media? Have you ever regretted responding to someone who got you riled up? Have you seen your sales decrease after talking about your political views?0