08 September 2017

How Political Should An Author Get on Social Media?

I joined Twitter back in January. I find it to be a little better than Facebook. Not much, but a little. I've had very little success with social media, but I find Twitter to be the best so far. It is a great place to connect with other authors--and other like-minded people. I've learned a lot from what others have "tweeted." And I can't see ever going back to Facebook.

The main focus of this blog entry, however, is a question that has cropped up for me: how personal should you be on your professional Twitter page or in any professional outlet for that matter? It seems like a question out of left field. But today, social media is a big part of marketing. And if you want to get your service or product out there--beyond your local market--then you have to engage in some social media. Where do you draw the line? I'm speaking for myself. Where does public author Catherine start and private citizen Cathy end? Anything I've ever read about author branding says the same thing: in order to find your own brand, you must combine your personal with your professional. How does that work on social media?

I am an indie author with few followers on Twitter (179 on last count). So, it probably doesn't matter what I tweet about. No one is paying much attention, anyway. I'm not going to turn away readers with my rants about the latest political outrage. Am I?

Well, maybe. Who can really say, but I can give you my own personal thoughts.

I have found people on Twitter offering editing or proofreading services, who have turned me (a potential client) off because they have ranted about something. When I go to a professional's social media page, I expect to find information pertaining to their services, not their outrage over North Korea, DACA, or Melania Trump's latest choice in fashion. Yes, I am a conservative. But I would have the same feeling if I were exposed to rantings about Hillary Clinton and her missing emails. If you are linking your Twitter account to your professional website, I expect to find your Twitter account to be professional.

So, when is it okay to mix your politics with your professional platform?

Well, Stephen King has 3.77 million followers on Twitter. J.K. Rowling has 12.4 million followers on Twitter. Both rant about politics all the time. I guess when you've become that popular and make that much money, you can risk it. But I don't follow either one on Twitter because they don't teach me anything or even entertain me. I'm new to the author world, and I'm eager to learn. I have no interest in how much the two of them hate Donald Trump. It kind of wastes my time. I know they both hate him. I don't need to read a tweet everyday confirming that.

So, I've decided for myself to never rant about my political views on Twitter, unless it is part of my branding. I may post a picture of Melania Trump praying in front of a statue of Our Blessed Mother, and I won't stay silent on the need to defund Planned Parenthood. I brand myself a Catholic author, and both examples fall well within my author platform.

What about blogs?

I think blogs are freedom. They are open enough to rant about anything you want. I follow certain blogs, and I know what to expect when I visit them.

Anyone who reads my blog knows what they are in for.

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