Social media offers instant exposure to a lot of opinions hidden behind snappy screen names.
The primary importance of creating an author persona is establishing your control over your public presence. Using your internal editor, that you have assigned to your author persona, can help you remain professional when your emotions are triggered by an opinion you oppose.
Debates are great and broaden our understanding on the topic because they present opposing arguments. Debates are a verbal volley of ideas, but are monitored like a tennis match with points assigned according to specific rules. The audience/spectators are not allowed on the court.
The difference between a good debate and the viral discussions in social media platforms is -
- the opinions and ideas are presented with the emotion of the moment
- there are no rules for scoring points
- the spectators are running free on the court
- there is no editorial control on the comments generated by the topic
- the first volley was served to an absent opponent
Therese says: I recently came across a blog/discussion, posted months ago, that referenced someone I know professionally. My impression of the actual post was, "ouch!" In my opinion, the author and those who commented had their internal editors and professional manners turned off. The person being bullied was absent though there was effort made for the victim to come forth and be bullied.
The original intent of the discussion (in my opinion) was genre bashing. This is an example of what I read and learned by researching the authors and those who took part in the discussion -- Imagine there was a snide blog post that unleashed rabid fans of James Bond movies (as played only by Roger Moore) to be engaged for a whole day with ridiculing Nora Roberts by directly attacking her publicist, who publicly admitted she likes Nora's books.The lesson of this story is - be very clear what it is you are responding to online and whether it is worth your time to engage in the discussion. Even though this was old news, and never went farther than the one-day-one-blog, it's all still out there and I was able to research the original author who started the thread and every bully who posted a comment. That is not a first glance impression you want to make because the real lesson of this story is - what is posted online remains available at a point-and-click.
And if, for some reason, you are the victim of this type of ridicule - do as the victim did that day. Remain absent. You can only control what words you present to the public. Your Author Persona knows your audience. Your audience wants every glance they have of you to be genuine.
Your Author Persona knows it's not worth your energy to engage in a debate about Nora Roberts books with old-skool James Bond fans. Your audience will not be impressed if you do because all your audience wants is more books written by you.
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