When I started blogging and doing The Social Media around 2007 (grandpa alert!), the conventional wisdom was that authors should steer clear of politics.
You don’t want to alienate half of your audience! Those are potential readers out there! Let’s all get along!
It’s interesting in a way that authors were ever cautious around politics, given the role that artists and writers have played throughout history in protest, satire, and thought leadership. But whatever caution existed in the early days has eroded.
Around five years ago, I began noticing a slow but steady change in the direction of open season for politics. Now there’s almost an expectation that authors will openly engage in advocacy.
I’ve been slow to go political on social media, but this election has shaken me up and loosened whatever restraints I was feeling. What’s happening, and what could happen if we’re not vigilant, is just too important.
I’ve also already noticed a steady stream of unfollowers on Twitter as I post more openly political thoughts. That’s obviously a tiny price to pay to stand up for what I believe is right, but it does speak to the potential for divisiveness.
How have you navigated this landscape? What do you think is the right approach? Have you unfollowed or given up reading an author because you didn’t like their politics?
Art: Painting of Battle at Soufflot barricades by Horace Vernet