The expression “choose your battles” is a good one, especially in this time when authors must use social media to engage with potential readers. In fact, at a recent author gathering, one mentioned to me that she abandoned Facebook because she was tired of negative comments.
I can understand that. Life is stressful enough without reading political screeds and pointless debates during what should be your downtime, or at least an enjoyable part of your business day.
With that in mind, here are some arguments I’d like to see abandoned:
1.) Apple versus Microsoft. This argument goes nowhere. I’m sure if you really want to, you can find bad press about both companies and their founders. Frankly, I don’t care what computer you send me your manuscript from, as long as I can open and read it. And as my college-student daughter pointed out, most people end up using both platforms for different reasons. Of course, we could even argue her point. Let’s not.
2.) Politics, even when you THINK you agree. Each person has one vote and everyone will vote according to his or her best interests, or at least, how those are perceived. Once you open the door to this argument, you might be upset to discover that you and your friend disagree strongly on fine points of important arguments. Is your friendship really worth damaging over how politicians want to redistribute your income? Considering not even the President can have his way without oversight, I think not.
3.) Theology. Again, even when you think you agree, you might not. Be still and let God.
So now I’ve taken all the fun out of Facebook and left us all with nothing but pictures of kittens, right? Well, for those who enjoy feeling a rush of adrenaline and pulses race at the prospect of a fight, perhaps I’m a killjoy. But I think Facebook can still be enjoyable without being negative. For example:
1.) I’m getting ready to purchase a new computer. What do you recommend?
2.) Make your voice heard! Be sure to vote today!
3.) Here’s a Bible verse or inspirational thought I’d like to share.
Of course, some posts might still generate spirited debate and exchange of ideas. This is fine. I have found on my page that my commenters are respectful and informative. I think this is in large part because I engage with the Christian community and also because I try to word my posts so I’m not spoiling for a fight.
For authors, the idea is to engage, not fight. Think of Facebook as your online personality. You are pleasant in person, so you will be pleasant online and for the most part, attract pleasant people.
And those people who are not? Facebook has mechanisms to allow you to hide their posts from your timeline.
My point? Don’t let a few negative people keep you as an author — and as a person — from using this valuable tool to reach your readers. Social medial should be a fun part of your business day. Enjoy!
Are you on Facebook? If not, why not?
What is your favorite aspect of Facebook?
How do you handle negative people on Facebook?
What tips about Facebook would you like to offer?