Discussion: do social media make it impossible for an author to do right?

Hi dear friends,

Some weeks ago on the taboo topics discussion, Katie from @nevernotreading commented with the very arresting:

“I think it’s tough for writers right now, because we have kind of a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” culture thriving on twitter right now. If you ignore a taboo topic, you’re ostracized. If you try writing about a taboo topic but manage to offend ONE person, they will rile up everyone else into ostracizing you. If you’re a minority author and choose NOT to write an own voices story, WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM? If you’re a non-minority author writing about a main character who is different than you, MAKE WAY FOR OWN VOICES AUTHORS, WE ARE TIRED OF YOUR WHITE PERSPECTIVE ON THINGS YOU CAN NEVER UNDERSTAND! It’s just. too. much.”

 

And bang! I had another discussion topic just like that!

Because I think Katie is right.

Social media make it so difficult for authors to please everyone.

Earlier if you did not like a book your opinion was limited to your friends and family. Maybe you wrote a letter to the author but that was the extend of the “damage”. Now you have a whole net to scream and voice your feelings. As everyone knows that unpopular opinion and scandals are most praised by many gossip lovers this spreads like a wildfire and grows something that would ealrier have been anecdotical!

 

If an author is attacked and he/she replies even respectfully often the attacker will counter attack and say either that he is misunderstood, either that the author is lying etc.

These people usually thrive under the spotlight. It’s like they want their five minutes of fame.

 

When the author does not reply, the rumor dies swiftly but some choose to interpret their silence as guilt. She/he did not reply so that means she/he is guilty, right?

 

So I think it is indeed very hard for authors right now to do right because of social media. I wrote some time ago about “social media: a curse or a blessing” (you can read it HERE) and I think this is a perfect illustration!

 

 

So do tell me: can authors still do right even with social media’s influence?

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Sophie

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26 Replies to “Discussion: do social media make it impossible for an author to do right?”

  1. Great post, Sophie! Social media especially Twitter has become pretty much Toxic these days! I recently heard Amélie Wen Zhao’s debut novel Blood heir was pulled out of publishing because she was bullied on Twitter. I feel bad for the author because it’s her debut novel! Those idiots has crushed her dreams! I’m really disappointed because I was really looking forward to it. I hope she changes her mind!

  2. Really brilliant post! I very much agree with both you and Katie- it’s definitely become a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation. And it’s having real world consequences that I don’t see as being good for anyone (refinery 29 recently did a piece, explaining how own voices is even effecting authors in minority groups, because they weren’t choosing the right setting for their diverse novels… to me, that says things have gone too far)

  3. I think we are also quick to say people who voice their opinions regarding racism and problematic content are attackers which isn’t right either. As an author you are more under a microscope these day. That is something that comes with the current social media structure we have and that is something we can’t change. That we can interact with each other like this is great, but it does require some nuanced interactions. Having said, as authors is a job, that is kind of part of the job these days. If you are respectul as an author and are willing to listen I don’t think you can really go wrong though.

  4. It’s such a tough situation and sometimes social media can seem so toxic but there’s a few authors who I’ve watched handle hard topics with such grace. Like Rachel Van Dyken. She was accused of plagiarism a few weeks ago and it was completely unfounded….one of her characters had the same name as another author’s character and they were both described as the devil. That’s it. The way RVD responded and put every single thing in the open was inspiring and set a positive example to others on how to handle a difficult situation.

  5. I think this is why I struggle with twitter so much. It always just feels so toxic, like someone is waiting in the wings to attack you no matter what you say or don’t say. I can’t even imagine how hard it must be for a famous person.

  6. Olivia-Savannah says: Reply

    Social media does make it difficult for authors to please everyone but I also think it is very important to note that whether it’s social media or not, you can never please everyone…

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Second attempt to answer you today …. yes you can’t please everyone but now someone can share outside of his inner circle and it does more damages …

  7. I always believe in ‘stay classy’ but I also think that people (and authors) should defend themselves….but it’s hard to get a middle ground and be drawn into something further….

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Exactly Caro! Finding the right balance is tricky!

      1. It really is!!

  8. I just read The Princess and The Fangirl, and it dealt a lot with the dark side of fandoms and how detrimental social media can be to actors and actresses. I know its a different demographic, but its kind of the same the same issue. I think people get caught up in the anonymity of the internet and forget that they are targeting real people. Even J.K. Rowling has been getting a lot of backlash lately!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Really??? JK Rowling? I had no idea Brittany!

  9. I agree with Katie. Being an author on social media is tough because authors are expected to please everybody, which is impossible. If someone is unhappy, they screech about it. Then other people screech about it. It’s true that some authors are awful humans, but I think social media needs to be more forgiving toward good people who make mistakes.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      I agree with you AJ because everyone can have a bad day and overreact!

  10. Ugh… we are basically doomed. Not only authors, but considering they are more known, there’s more attention on them. Lately i’ve been trying to limit my time on twitter and the likes (not that i spent a lot of time on it to begin with) and i’m only noticing positive changes in how i feel.
    Even not knowing about these petty arguments is immensely helpful. Now i don’t even want to imagine if they were targeting me specifically… :/

    What you said about authors getting hate whether they write about something or not… Is this a new trend? I mean, i don’t remember male authors getting hating on for writing female main characters while not being females for example. And that’s a pretty big category…

    I used to dream about becoming an author but bloody hell, all my desires basically died after i saw these people ranting online.

    1. Don’t give up on your dreams, Norrie just because there’s so much hate and intolerance out there. Don’t let them stifle your freedom of speech. Write, write, write, let it out into the world!

    2. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Norrie Twitter is my least favorite social media! I do prefer Instagram and I think people are “tamer” there… But as Anne Marie said don’t bury your dream yet!

  11. I’ve never had the desire to be a published author, and in the social climate of today, I’d probably want to be one even less! Katie is right on with the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” culture in social media these days, it seems that no matter what you do, your actions (or inaction) would be called into scrutiny by so-called book lovers who are more concerned with virtue signaling and slacktivism than they are into actual reading. The Twitter mob is a nasty, nasty thing. Authors must tread carefully, and writing the “book of their heart” isn’t really that possible anymore.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Well Mogsy this is just plain sad if they can’t write the “book of their heart” anymore! Because these are usually the bests!

  12. I do think that social media makes things difficult for them! I have a hard enough time on it myself. It’s hard to know what the answer is, but I guess each author will have to figure out what works for them. Nice post! 🙂

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      I have a hard time too! I don’t “overshare” but honestly sometimes I just want to throttle rude people LOL

  13. It’s in all compartments of life. My daughter and grandson were yelled at yesterday for supposedly taking someone’s spot at a Walmart. My daughter tried to apologise, but the person just kept screaming. Over a PARKING SPOT! What is the problem with people anymore?
    We seem to be reversing to Neanderthals, IMO.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Jacquie I think the problem is that we think individually instead of collectively. In our parents and grand parents age and time I think there was a sense of community that is no longer present nowadays. We think that we are individually important and if th’ts true we forget one of Sartre’s famous sentence “la liberté s’arrête là où celle des autres commence” or “freedom stops where the other’s begins”. I think if we think as a community we are more respectful hence won’t attack and bash so easily. But hey that’s my two cents of the day!

      1. I agree, Sophie. We’re a ‘Me First’ society and it is creating havoc in all walks of life, unfortunately.

  14. Authors, like anyone, should never rise to the bait. Never respond to idiots, and not be cowed by people who hide behind Social Media to make personal attacks. I delete and block these kinds of people. Yes, they’re entitled to their opinion, but forget, so are we. And this, is the sorry state of the world at the moment, you are either them, or us.

    Well, I’m neither, I’m me get use to it.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Hahaha I love it! I am me get used to it! Because my moto has always been “take it or leave it” since I’ve been a kid Alexandra. But I know som have softer skin and people can really be hateful. It infuriates me every time!

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