This post is a question – a question I don’t have an answer for. I’m truly interested in hearing from you – whether you’re a reader, a writer, or you just stumbled across my blog for the first time. I’d love to hear your opinions and views.
If there’s one thing that we can probably all agree on it’s that the political climate of America – and the world – is highly charged right now. Everyone has an opinion, and many people are not shy about voicing it. As a writer, I fully agree with this in principle – the freedom of speech is precious, and we all have a right to our opinions, even when our opinions may or may not be right.
However, in the highly charged atmosphere of today’s world, I’ve noticed some changing trends. Many authors who I follow on social media are posting more political content – some to the point of excluding all other content. I have actually unfollowed several authors on various platforms because all I see them post are political rants. Even those who post political content that I agree with I have unfollowed, because I did not initially choose to follow them for their political beliefs. I wanted to follow these authors because of the content they shared about their books, the publishing industry, writing tips, geeky book memes, or gifs of cats falling off furniture.
I am all for transparency and authenticity on social media. I believe that authors should be themselves, because people want to connect with other people, not just faceless products. Nobody likes posts of nothing but “buy my book!”
So from that perspective, is an author posting their love or hate for a particular elected official/candidate/policy merely part of this authenticity? After all, there’s more to an author than just their romance novels, their editorial services, or gifs of their cat falling off furniture.
Also, if an author has more people following them than just their spouse and their mom, then they have a platform. A platform from which they have the ability – and perhaps even the responsibility – to influence others. That’s the power of words, after all – to share new ideas with people, to get them to think in new ways. Isn’t that the ultimate purpose of us as authors?
But on the other hand, an author should know their audience. What are their fans and followers interested in? Do their followers and readers want to know more about the author’s research projects about Victorian London or tips for formatting ebooks? Or do their followers and readers want to know how much the author loves/hates a particular elected official/candidate/policy?
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I have recently unfollowed several authors because – in my personal opinion – they seem to have forgotten their original audience. I followed these authors because I was interested in their content, whether it was the books they write, the writing tips they shared, or their gifs of clumsy cats. Whether I agreed with their political opinions or not was not an issue for me – I simply grew tired of seeing nothing but political rants instead of writing tips, book quotes, and other writerly stuff. In my view, their author platform had changed, and I was no longer interested.
And maybe that’s okay; if an author wants to change their target audience, then they can adjust their content accordingly. If that was the case with these authors – that they intentionally have changed their author branding and are trying to change their audience – then I wish them the best. I am simply no longer part of that target audience, and that’s fine. That’s how marketing works.
This is a complex issue, this concept of authenticity, connecting with people, and being an influencer because of your words. No matter what you do, you’re not going to make every person on the planet happy. To the question “should writers use their author platforms for political posts,” I don’t believe there is one right answer.
I’m interested in your thoughts! How would you answer the question “Should writers use their author platforms for political posts?” Please share!
Or if you’d like to comment with a gif of a cat falling off a table, that works too.