Let’s Get Political

Why do people join Twitter?  For me, personally, Twitter is a place where I get the opportunity to have an exchange with other writers, public figures, actors, performers, and to get to know a side of them I haven’t previously been able to see. maybe get inside their heads a little, see what their process is like.  Actors, writers and musicians are the most interesting people to do this with on account of the art, but it’s nice to see how everyone’s mind works.  I also enjoy finding people who share common interests with me.  Lastly, it is a part of my writer’s platform, a place where I can advertise my work and put my own thoughts out into the world for public consumption.  (If anybody doesn’t believe that as a “last” purpose, take a look at my account – originally, it was all fandom all the time, because that’s who I was connected with at the time.

The reasons I enjoy Twitter lead to why it bothers me so much when it becomes clear to me that an account on Twitter is solely created as a marketing technique and not as a vehicle of expression and connection to others.  I despise autofollow messages and autogenerated DMs and I hate accounts that are created for the sole purpose of advertising ones work.  Why?  Because I want to get to know you and your views, whether I may like them or not.  Because it makes you a real person.

Often, when experts discuss the best way to build your platform as a writer, you hear the following: Don’t get political.  Don’t get religious.  Don’t get too fiery.  Stay the course.  Discuss your writing.  Discuss topics that relate to your writing.  Don’t get involved in arguments.  Don’t give your public any reason to cut itself in half.  And it makes sense.  As a writer, or any public figure, really, you want people to like you.  You don’t want to turn people off by loudly blasting views that will turn people off to your work.  The theory is that you should be able to separate the product from the artist who created it.  But is that even possible in this age of social media marketing?  And even if it was, could you maintain it?

I enjoy speaking my mind.  I try to do so in a calm and rational way, but I always feel my most comfortable when I’m saying how I feel.  I’m a staunch democrat.  Pretty damn Liberal.  I believe in a woman’s right to choose and a woman’s right to birth control.  I am a Feminist through and through and believe in wage and social equality.  I believe in marriage equality. I believe in fighting any and all bigotry that I encounter.

Whew!  It felt good getting that out there.  Most people with an audience are very careful about what they say.  I tend not to be and here’s why.

I am a writer.  Who I am fuels the stories I tell.  If I don’t tell you I’m a feminist, but submit to you the story of a woman who believes she has as much of a right to stand up and be heard as a man and fights towards that end, would you be completely shocked to learn that I am a feminist?  If I don’t tell you that I believe in marriage equality, that I am a staunch ally to the LGBT community, wouldn’t you be able to tell that based on the fact that many of my stories feature gay or lesbian characters in prominent roles as tastefully (or not – depends on the character) depicted as any of my heterosexual characters?  I may not need to beat you over the head with my viewpoints for you to get a strong feeling of what they would be.

So let’s call a spade a spade here.  If you dislike gay people, my stories will likely not be for you.  If you are a racist, my stories will likely not be for you.  If you have issues with women in power, my stories will likely not be for you.  In that way, I find that expressing my views may actually be beneficial to my readership because nobody will be surprised by what they are going to find.

Are some of the values of my characters different than those of my own?  Of course, or else it wouldn’t be a good story.  I can’t simply keep reciting my own thoughts as though they are gospel and expect to write something decent. However, there are themes about acceptance and love between characters in all of my stories that do shine through.

Don’t get me wrong.  If you’re political ideas are different, I will be more than happy to debate that with you, and I respect your opinion.  (If you’re an actual bigot, that respect your opinion thing doesn’t apply to you. Sorry.  I don’t associate with bigots of any kind.)

So which is better?  Creating a public persona and hiding an aspect of who I am so that others have no idea what to expect from me?  Or being very open about exactly who I am to create a more stable potential fanbase, one that will not suddenly flee when it is realized that my values don’t necessarily coincide with their own.


8 thoughts on “Let’s Get Political

  1. I have one account for me and one for my website…purely so it keeps them separate. Then I don’t bombard people with info about website… 😀

    Basically I am too good to people 😛

    Kriss :

  2. *looks over list you posted* Yep, I knew all these things about you. 😉 No surprises at all.

    I find myself more likely to discuss or post links to items related to my religious faith than to anything political. One, it is far more important to me. And it’s surprisingly usually less divisive. Plus, I have close friends and family members on every possible spectrum of political thought. I guess I keep silent partly out of respect for them. That and online political discussions seem to deteriorate SO quickly. (Don’t tell, but my own husband’s political posts irk me sometimes–quick soundbites can be soooo misleading and just inflammatory–not really a good vehicle for rational discussion). Besides, these days my political thought is something along the lines of: “Fire everyone on both sides of the aisle and start over.” A friend of mine who knows she is of the opposite political persuasion from me saw that and said, “See, we just thought our views were incompatible.” 😉

    All that said, I actually find LISTENING to all sides extremely valuable. I kind of wish more people did it. I find the yelling from every angle rather annoying, to be honest. Even if I sort of agree with someone’s rant, their screaming about it is such a turnoff that I tend to argue just based on principle. :-p

    So that is my long-winded (sorry!) way of saying I like listening to whatever you have to say–whether I agree, disagree, or fall somewhere in the middle. And I guess I could have just said that, huh? :-p

    This is the real reason I fail at Twitter so often. *blushes and scurries off in shame*

    1. 😀 Most people that know me well will not be surprised by a single thing on this list! LOL

      My political views lean close to yours. Mine tend more towards – everyone should be fired, but if I’m going to have to deal with someone, I’ll deal with the democrats. 😉 But yeah, everyone in politics has their own messiness.

      I agree about the “Open Ear” policy as well. Next week, I’ll be posting a blog that somewhat discusses the idea of understanding all sides of an argument, for character sake, if for nothing else.

      (Psst – I had to get a blog because twitter posts aren’t 500 words long. 😉 )

  3. Not a fan of Twitter at all. First, if you really have something to say, Twitter’s character count makes getting the point across difficult. That’s why a lot of folks find themselves in trouble and often apologizing because what they have said in 100 characters or less (not really sure what the count is exactly) is often misconstrued. Then there is the hack factor – how many times do we hear about Twitter being hacked on the news? Quite often in fact. The only reason for me to be on Twitter would be to promote my website – not enough reasons on the positive points list for me and thus, I have not joined.

    1. I think the reason people ACTUALLY get in trouble on twitter is that it’s a more rapid fire way of socializing, and so they tend to say things without thinking. Less about word count, more about immediacy. For instance, I read and reread and have someone else read my blog posts before I post them. I post my tweets without rereading and without an editor to back me up.

      As far as the hacking issue, everyone everywhere can be hacked. Twitter is a more centralized location for celebrities, which is why you hear about it more often when it comes to that site.

      There is definitely a world you are missing by not being on Twitter (especially when it comes to promoting your site as we’ve discussed off line), but that world is not everyone’s cup of tea. So missing out on something might not be any real motivation to participate.

  4. Pingback: Summer Linkin’ | Pieces of the Puzzle

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