The Flipside of Social Networking for Writers

Shelia M. GossDue to the Internet and the various forms of social media, readers have easier access to their favorite authors. This can be a good thing, however beware of the flipside.

Blogging, Tweeting or being on Facebook can be a good way to express your thoughts on newsworthy items, let others know about your books, talk about controversial topics, etc. When you’re voicing your views online, everyone is not going to agree with your point of view. You might gain some readers using some of the social networks but you may also alienate a few people as well.

I’m not saying don’t say what you want to say, but beware that whatever you say on your own page or in the comment fields is subject to criticism. Should writers care about what they post online? How should an author respond to comments, especially those that are directed at them? I say use your best judgment. Some things can’t go left unsaid, while other comments need to be simply ignored.

Several of my favorite bloggers no longer blog on a regular basis because of fall out due to some of their blog posts. Some people took what they said on their blogs personal and there was a big “backlash” in the blogsphere from it. Personally, I feel like they should have kept blogging, but professionally, I can see why they stopped.

Some folks find it hard to separate the author from their books so if they don’t like their online persona, they won’t purchase their books. It’s unfortunate but that’s just how it is. The online social networks can be another promotional tool but beware of the thin line. On the flip-side don’t let the thin line stop you from having your say—just beware that what mama said about “never say something you don’t want repeated” is not just true for your offline world, but it’s true for when you’re on any of the social networks too.

What’s your opinion about using online social media? Have you ever crossed the line and if so, what was the backlash? Do you ever use the anonymous key when posting? If so, why?

Shelia M Goss


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8 thoughts on “The Flipside of Social Networking for Writers

  1. D.L.Sparks

    I personally try to stay middle ground if I can, especially on hot topics. I will voice my opinion but never “force” my opinion. I can’t begin to tell you how many Tweets I have typed and subsequently deleted thinking “Oh noooo…I can’t tweet that!” LOL!! There is definitely a fine line when it comes to how you represent yourself online whether it be with words or even your personal image. Perception is everything.

  2. Stacy-Deanne

    I have subjects I refuse to talk about online because of being an author. I don’t want to offend potential readers, etc. I don’t talk about politics and I don’t talk about religion. Period. I wonder if some authors realize the damage they do online. On Facebook I know several authors who have expressed negative views toward homosexuality and other issues. I wonder if they realize that insulting an entire group of people (who may be your fans) is not a good thing? I was also turned off by these authors because of the hatred they spewed and deleted them from my lists. I can imagine how their fans or readers felt if they read what some of them have said. Bottom line, an author is a public figure so like it or not, there are certain rules for us when it comes to how we act and behave. I voice my opinion but always remain respectful. In the back of my head, I always keep the reminder that I’m a public figure and should act accordingly. I also watch what I say about other authors because they can backlash you by putting negative reviews on your books.

    1. Shelia Goss

      Stacy, yes, like it or not, as an author, you are a public figure and must act accordingly. It doesn’t mean you can’t be yourself, just have to be careful when walking that thin line.

  3. Miranda Parker

    Great post, Shelia.

    I remind my clients of this fact and if need be ask them to remove certain charged comments when I see them on their facebook page or twitter account.
    What we share online is what we share. Therefore, it is imperative, that what we share puts us in a positive light to our fans. If we have a soapbox that is hard to get off of, then delete the post once you’ve gotten it off your chest. Or create a secret group just for your family and friends, where you can vent.

  4. Deatri Post author

    Some authors want it both ways. They want to treat their account as a personal account that their true friends and family have access to, but then they also want to use it as a promotion tool for readers.

    Two accounts is a great idea. I know of a few authors who do this. They have one account for the public (per se) and the other is their private account. But you still have to be careful with anything you put out there on the Internet when you become a public figure. And yes, authors are public figures.

    Great post

    1. Shelia Goss

      Exactly Deatri. As public figures we do have a responspility, whether we want to think so or not :) I also advise people to treat people like they want to be treated too because unfortunately, I’ve seen some FB bullies.

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