Kristen Lamb

Author, Blogger, Social Media Jedi

Kristen Lamb — Photo

Generation Butthurt—How Being Constantly Offended (and Offensive) Costs BIG

Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Kenny Louie.
Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Kenny Louie.

Today we are going to dive back into social media because who we are on-line impacts the odds of our success. Whether we like it or not, engaging on social media and cultivating a following is going to massively impact our professional success (or lack thereof).

In sales we had a saying, Fish where the fish are. Well my darlings, the fish are schooling on social media. When we are online we are not only engaging with the readers of today, we are cultivating future readers. This applies as much to the pre-published newbie as it does the internationally best-selling author.

We are wise to remember that we now have entire generations glued to smart phones and LinkedInInstaSnap, and if we don’t learn how to navigate these waters? Bad juju.

This said. Social media is an extraordinarily powerful tool that is too often treated like a toy.

Would we do that with a chainsaw? Treat it like a toy? Not use safety gear and chase friends and neighbors and joggers with it and fling it around laughing without a care? No, likely not. But that chainsaw only has around sixty teeth when the Internet has MILLIONS of teeth.

Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Dave Hosford
Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Dave Hosford

Social media is more dangerous than a chainsaw when we handle it recklessly. If you don’t believe me, I think there is a position open for a new SNL writer. The Internet is filled with stories of even regular people who acted thoughtlessly on social media whose lives were then upended. They lost jobs, destroyed their reputations, and even had to go into hiding.

Is it fair? No. But fair is a weather condition.

Does this mean we are to be afraid of social media? Well no more than we would be afraid of a chainsaw or a car or a power drill. We don’t need to be afraid of any of these tools, but we do need to respect their power.

Going PRO

Image courtesy of Flikr Creative Commons
Image courtesy of Flikr Creative Commons

Whenever we decide we might one day sell our book, we are making a decision to be a professional. Being a professional comes with certain rules that don’t generally apply to regular people.

Additionally, all authors are in the business of sales and I can tell you that nothing helps sales like good old-fashioned networking. When I was in corporate sales, there was a reason we hobnobbed at golf events and cocktail parties and lunches. We were there to get to know one another on a more intimate level. Learn about each other, talk about topics of mutual interest (business or not and more often not).

It was these loose and casual connections that with time, became long-term business relationships and friendships. Our goal was to cultivate an atmosphere that left others saying, “I cannot wait to give her my business.” Or, even better, “I cannot wait to recommend her to others.”

Simple fact.

Most people buy from who they know and who they like.

They DO NOT buy from people who berate them and call them names.

Whouda thunk?

Social media is supposed to be social and it is governed by the same social rules as any in-person get-together. Feel free to ignore these rules, but they will have consequences.

If we are consistently name-calling, ranting, arguing and trolling, and posting stuff that creates a toxic atmosphere of anger and hysteria? Other people DO have the right to say, “No, not in my space.”

I love Facebook. I am friends with all kinds of people and have zero interest in living in an ideological echo chamber. I feel my diverse group of “friends” is what adds richness and depth to my life.

I enjoy seeing other viewpoints, even if I might not necessarily agree. I enjoy seeing people around me passionate in supporting what they love, even when it is a cause I don’t happen to share.

The problem is, we have become a culture addicted to outrage.

Generation Butthurt

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 10.18.36 AM

It has become more and more apparent over the past several years. Now? It is ridiculous. I see people who have no problem blasting others and going for the throats of anyone who dares have another opinion. Oh, but they all seem to have the skin of a grape.

They are offended all…the…time.

They have two speeds: Offensive and Offended.

So many people have just become a never-ending fountain of some new thing to be pissed off about. It never…frigging…stops.

I’m done.

Would we act this way in a workplace? You know, every day show up with petitions and corner people at the coffee machine and call them names? Utter insults so repugnant that bystanders cannot believe an adult actually said it?

And, if we did act this way, how long before we were fired?

If we were in sales, would be woo a potential client by screaming at him? By calling him a sexist pig?

If we owned a business, would we be able to grow that business if, every time a customer came in to see what we had to offer, we were enraged and yelling? Demanding they listen to our grievances?

Some of y’all might be laughing, but I see this all the time on social media. I just want to pull the author aside and tell them their FB page is their storefront and it is decorated with hate and hysteria. Is that what they were intending?

We all have a right to be offended and we should be offended. Being offended has its place and is it at the heart of all great social change. But offended all the time? Frankly, no one really wants to be around those people long-term. It costs us health, peace, friends and yes, even money. Most people won’t remember every detail of what we say or do, but…

People will always remember how we made them feel when in our company.

So when I post anything I always ask how that might make others feel. That is my litmus on-line.

My Feed is the Adult Table

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In the ten years I have been on Facebook I had never unfriended anyone because of their beliefs, even those beliefs that are vastly different than mine. I still won’t. I love your uniqueness and have no interest in making you a clone of me.

The world can barely handle ONE of me, LOL.

But over the past couple of months? I have begun setting firmer boundaries. At first I will unfollow people who are just constantly negative (no matter their beliefs) and only unfriend if I can’t seem to escape any other way.

I don’t want that in my feed. I see too much of this junk already. I go to the gym and every treadmill faces a WALL of nonstop news. I don’t know whether my heart rate is up because I’m keeping a good pace running or if I am furious at the news.

Thus, when I get on social media? I don’t want to be surrounded by relentless rage, a constant stream of negativity and hate.

My FB is the adult table. Adults can discuss and debate and talk without coming emotionally unhinged. Adults talk on a variety of subjects. Children whine and complain. Adults can see something they disagree with and move on. Children rant and rave and stuff digital peas up their noses.

I used to befriend everyone who said they were a writer and still do. But, if this person is then consistently acting unprofessional?  I don’t have time for amateur hour. I am only interested in interacting with other authors who value their own reputation and the reason is simple. If they don’t respect their own name and reputation, why would they respect mine? We can’t give what we don’t have.

Now when anyone sends me a request? I look at their feed first and see if this is the kind of positive and professional energy I want to incorporate into my life.

We Need to GROW UP

Image via Flickr Creative Commons courtesy of Joel Kramer
Image via Flickr Creative Commons courtesy of Joel Kramer

I would love for every person using social media to do this, but every human on social media is not my concern. I am talking to authors who want to cultivate a platform filled with either readers, or at least with people who enrich their lives so they can write more books and better books.

Granted, I would love for every person who follows me on social media to buy my books, but selling books is not my sole purpose. I am on social media to reach out. To love and encourage and serve. To bring laughter and education. To brighten a dark day. I am also on social media to be fed and enriched and enlightened by others, but that only happens in the presence of respectful and thoughtful adults.

The same boundaries we place on children? Sadly, sometimes we need those on-line.

Courtesy of https://www.parentcoachplan.com/parenting-memes.php
Courtesy of https://www.parentcoachplan.com/parenting-memes.php

For those of you who might be feeling battered and war-weary on-line? You have a right to set boundaries. Gentle at first (unfollow) and if that doesn’t work? You do have the right to unfriend, to remove recalcitrant children and replace them with thoughtful grownups. We are authors not babysitters.

This is not censorship. Censorship is if we reported everyone we disagreed with to FB to get their page taken down. Setting boundaries is your right and it is necessary for emotional health.

Adults don’t mind posts here and there about politics, even when they disagree. They don’t mind a petition now and again. The DO mind a soap box getting planted on their heads every day. They are getting weary of armchair activists and they are quietly unfollowing and unfriending when we fail to be respectful.

I am so honored to serve all of you and I know each and every one of you will change the world. I hope you do and I can’t wait to see you do it!

What are your thoughts? I love hearing from you! What are your thoughts? Concerns?

And to prove it and show my love, for the month of JANUARY, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

SIGN UP NOW FOR MY UPCOMING CLASSES!!! 

Remember that ALL CLASSES come with a FREE RECORDING so you can listen over and over. So even if you can’t make it in person? No excuses! 

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Individual Classes with MOI!

Pitch Perfect—How to Write a Query Letter & Synopsis that SELLS January 28th

When your Name Alone Can SELL—Branding for Authors February 10th, 2017

Social Media for Authors February 11th, 2017

NEW CLASS!!!! The Art of Character January 27th, 2017

Blogging for Authors February 3rd

For those who need help building a platform and keeping it SIMPLE, pick up a copy of my latest social media/branding book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World on

83 thoughts on “Generation Butthurt—How Being Constantly Offended (and Offensive) Costs BIG”

  1. Jacquie BiggarJacquie Biggar

    So true! It’s getting to where I just want to avoid FB. If it’s not politics, it’s someone’s perceived idea of hurt feelings which includes sharing it with all and sundry 🙁

    • Author Kristen LambAuthor Kristen Lamb

      I am getting much stricter. ADULTS ONLY. I am unfollowing then unfriending those who can’t be respectful. It sucks, and I hate doing it but we creative people need to guard our muse.

  2. Dido's Desolate DomainDido's Desolate Domain

    Never was a truer word said. I love politics, law and all that stuff, but I’m fed up with the battering ram of self-righteousness circulating on social media right now. Everyone has appointed themselves members of the Inquisition and its quite frightening. I’m on a break from social media right now, but when I get back, it will be with a firmer hand than I had before, because I too was guilty of the rant and rave madness a while back.

  3. Angel LawsonAngel Lawson

    Yep. This week I finally had it. If you post politics of any kind I will not just hide you (I tried that and FB just kept showing me MORE) I now unfollow. No second chances. I don’t unfriend but it’s just not what I want or need in my life.

    If you want to make a political change get out of the house. Don’t just click share.

  4. nancierowejanitznancierowejanitz

    Hi Kristen,

    First can I tell you much I love your blog and your articles.. they are so entertaining as well as packed with great info!

    I had a question for you! I signed up for your Character class, which I believe starts today, but I did not receive a confirmation of any sorts… can you help?

    Thank you! Nancie Janitz nrjanitz@mac.com >

    • Author Kristen LambAuthor Kristen Lamb

      Wow. It is today. Let me resend the email but check your spam box, too. Sometimes they end up in there. In fact, to be sure I will just copy it and send it directly to you.

  5. Diana Staresinic-DeaneDiana Staresinic-Deane

    I really appreciate this post. I’ve kind of wanted to hide from Facebook for a few months now. Having 600 friends all posting anger and frustration–it’s exhausting to look at my feed. I also find myself worrying about those facebook friends who’ve stopped posting about their pets and kids and fun stories they’ve found online because they’re so focused on political stuff. It’s like all of their joy is gone.

    I never post anything political on my facebook author page–that’s a page for stuff about topics connected to my writing. Or, I should say, if I post something political, it’s directly connected to writing or my work.

    Being a blue dot in a red state, I’m very aware that not everyone will agree with me. If I share a political news story on my personal page, I try to write something with it that will generate discussion instead of sound like I’m ordering anyone to feel a certain way. We’ve had some pretty amazing conversations. Unfortunately, though, I’ve had an instance where I turned my back on facebook for a couple of hours and returned to find family and friends beating each other up, and suddenly I’m getting defriended because they now hate each other. Lesson learned.

    For those of us who are interested in engaging with other politically active citizens, Facebook Lists are (is?) a great tool. I’ve created one just for my politically active friends. I can share things just with them without torturing the other 500+ connections.

  6. YecheilyahYecheilyah

    Reblogged this on Pearls Before Swine and commented:
    “Whenever we decide we might one day sell our book, we are making a decision to be a professional. Being a professional comes with certain rules that don’t generally apply to regular people.”

  7. LisaLisa

    Thank you…the world we live in isn’t the world we grew up in as children. It’s so upside down and at times it can be so frustrating that I want to give in and say something, but then I remember I’m an adult, and adults don’t act this way. What I say and what I do is out there for the world to see and I’d much rather be a positive example than a ranting underachiever who cares not what words they spill into the world without consequence. I want to change the world in a positive way, not negative.

  8. karenannwirtzkarenannwirtz

    Thank you, yes! I’ve never been so grateful for the unfollow and mute buttons as I have in the last few months. I’ve been trying to keep my thinking positive, but it’s almost impossible when my facebook and twitter feeds are nothing but hate from both sides. I’ve even seen some people offended by the silence of others. It is nice to be left reading the posts of people who are working hard and supporting one another, though. As always, love your posts.

  9. charlaynedenneycharlaynedenney

    THANK YOU! I’ve been trying to hold my own up there and it’s just so…tiring! There’s a reason I voted for Bugs Bunny on Facebook, he gets lost, he smiles, he jokes with the Big Red Monster while doing his hair (or is it hare?) and he’s no Drama Llama.

    After a 10 minute read on FB, I’m ready to jump off a tall building, really. Just so angry, stressful, and no one has anything good to say. How do people live like this? Stress is contraindicated with Multiple Sclerosis, it causes havoc. I’m trying not to unfriend those I have come to love as friends but it’s getting harder and harder and it’s now becoming something akin to self-preservation.

    Give me puppies. Give me a crazy cat (loved Grumpy Cat until everyone decided to become Grumpy Cat). Give me the little kid singing Jolene. Heck, tease me with your next book, show me where you got your ideas, brag that your kid brought home a family of mice. ANYTHING, but please, let’s be active but not hateful, busy but not in-your-face, and let’s get the world back on track!

    Love your posts, I grow through them. Thanks!

  10. bethtrisselbethtrissel

    You said what I’ve been thinking so exceedingly well. Thanks!

  11. Darrel SparkmanDarrel Sparkman

    Best opinion article I’ve read. Some don’t realize many fans follow your personal page as well as the author page so you get a lot of cross-pollination. Maybe a blog on how to move your fans from the personal page to the author page? Or, should we? Your idea of un-following might be the best one. Thanks for your words.

    • Author Kristen LambAuthor Kristen Lamb

      Nope. I think we need to follow the old rule of if we don’t have something nice to say don’t say it at all. I don’t like this kind of partitioning because it just takes us getting comfortable and then we get lax and we oops and then we torch our reputation. So I work to always be on my best behavior 😀 .

  12. Pamela KopflerPamela Kopfler

    Well said! My friends are quite diverse in every way and I love that, but my feed is riddled with political unrest from both sides. The drama is a downer I refuse to participate in, which limits my engagement on either side. There is no upside to taking sides because I would offend half my friends. I’d rather keep them all. Thanks for your thoughtful post.

  13. Paulla SchreinerPaulla Schreiner

    My father used to say, “You can disagree without being disagreeable.” I think we’ve lost the knack.

    • jorgekafkazarjorgekafkazar

      Lately, if you disagree, that a signal for everyone to jump on you and castigate you for having a different opinion.

  14. Jessica Barrett HalcomJessica Barrett Halcom

    Amen, sister! This was spot on! It’s a shame this has to be called out, but it does. I often wonder about the comments I see online…would those people honestly speak that way to someone’s face?

  15. Chris SaperChris Saper

    Very thoughtful article, Kristen. I have also become much more careful about whose friend requests I accept. There’s no reason to knowingly welcome poison into our lives when we just don’t have to. Each person has his or her own reasons for participating on FB or other social media sites; just because one person has passion about a position, it doesn’t mean that I don’t have passion about my own. But kind of like the quote attributed to Neil DGT, “The universe is under no obligation to make sense to you.” none of us are under some kind of obligation to tolerate bad behavior from others.

  16. Celia LewisCelia Lewis

    Merci for a very clear article, once again, Kristen. I’m so liberal-minded I almost fall over on the left side of politics/philosophy! But yes, diversity is the world we live in, and everyone has a right to at the very very least, not be attacked. Personally, over the years I’ve been on Fbk & Twitter, I have quietly unfollowed – so I don’t get their constant rants – but still can go to their page and see if they’re posting anything personal/writerly.
    In the meantime, in this current maelstrom of ‘news’ and ‘opinions/talking heads’, I look diligently for what will feed me: science things I didn’t know, amazing photos of marine biology or the universe or field photos of biologists [cheets, e.g.], supportive actions, interesting books to read, and more. First I feed my soul, then I look to feed my writer’s mind. Why I keep coming here. Thank you a bucket-full! Merci buckets.

    • Celia LewisCelia Lewis

      “cheets” = cheetahs. Sorry for my flying fingers there.

  17. jennifershirkjennifershirk

    YES. THANK YOU.
    I don’t post political anything on my social media, however, I don’t mind seeing political tweets or FB posts from others even if I don’t agree, but it is the constant BARRAGE of posts–and mostly angry posts!–that have me unfollowing people/authors/writers. I feel like I’M being screamed at even though I haven’t said or done anything. It gives me a headache and if I was at a party with that person, I would have to walk away from them too.

  18. Kathryn JaneKathryn Jane

    Thank you! I’m reblogging this post and hoping to keep spreading the word…as it is so well said! I to am hitting the unfollow button on a regular basis lately, and the unfriend one when all else fails.

    I just love this: “My FB is the adult table. Adults can discuss and debate and talk without coming emotionally unhinged. Adults talk on a variety of subjects. Children whine and complain. Adults can see something they disagree with and move on. Children rant and rave and stuff digital peas up their noses.”

  19. dwkavanaughdwkavanaugh

    Thank you. I agree completely. Mind if I share this on my FB page?

  20. Debra BrownDebra Brown

    Yes. This.
    I just had this conversation with a co-worker. I am surrounded mostly by conservative folks. We don’t fight, we don’t yell and we don’t name call when it comes to politics and we disagree on A LOT. Act like a civilized human being and then get off your ass and do something.

  21. Lucy ZahnleLucy Zahnle

    Kristen,

    You hit the nail on the head! I hate to see someone’s personal rant or, worse yet, an insulting, offensive, or divisive meme in my feed. I go to social media to chat, enjoy my familyand friends, network with fellow writers and editors, promote my business in a low key way, look at cat pictures, and generally relax. I have not unfriended or unfollowed anyone, but I have hidden tons of their posts. It’s like you have to play social media whack-a-mole just to get some peace.

    • Kathryn JaneKathryn Jane

      Social media whack-a-mole…. brilliant!!!!!!!!!

  22. Kirk KraftKirk Kraft

    IGreat post!

    ‘ve been meaning to curtail social media this year as one of my goals and it’s been easier to do so due to the scenarios you mentioned. I actually have exited Twitter, at least for the short-term, because I got tired of all the nonsense. The most disappointing part to me? Some of the worst vitriol spews forth from those in the writing community itself.

    I learned a long time ago there’s no benefit to engaging in shouting matches with “invisible” people. Social media can be a great place to build relationships but it’s also a place people can hide and create alternate realities and selves. I could do without the latter.

  23. Bridgett MorignaBridgett Morigna

    Reblogged this on Writing and Musing and commented:
    This is right on topic for me this week. I’ve been thinking a lot about how I want my presence on social media to be a positive thing in my life and the life of others. I want to talk about things I love, not spread hate or pick fights.

  24. Tonya LippertTonya Lippert

    I appreciate your post. A reminder to us all to consider what we really hope to accomplish with our social media presences.

  25. Elizabeth RoseElizabeth Rose

    Boundaries are so important.

    I avoided social media for a very long time, and really only bothered with it once I started thinking about my writing goals. I still don’t much care for it.

    I can’t imagine the social ramifications for behaving in person as some people do on social media. There’s a part of me that really wonders about the “social” in social media.

  26. Deborah MakariosDeborah Makarios

    *breathes sigh of relief*
    I don’t have a Facebook presence (can’t find it in me to regret that at the moment) but I try to provide a peaceful, refreshing, restorative space on my blog. Like sitting down for a nice cup of tea with a non-shouty friend. This week’s special: cat pics!

  27. runsquidlingrunsquidling

    Hm. I see where you’re coming from, and I understand why you wouldn’t like being bombarded with politics, but like… the alt-right are literal nazis. I’m not offended, I’m threatened. The white house has expressed policies that will literally take my family away from me and let my friends die. I can’t be quiet about that and I don’t really care if it alienates my (potential future) public. What’s the point of being an artist if you aren’t being annoying about things that matter? (“Annoying” had been amplified lately due to Recent Events in American Fascism.)

    That said, I agree that shouting and name-calling are not effective ways to deal with anyone. I’ve had to deal with this a lot recently. I have a friend who consistently calls me things like “entitled” and “whiny”. When he says those things, I refuse to engage with his point, and tell him that he can change his words or he can leave. I’m not gentle about it. I want to emphasize that “not nice” and “childish tantrum” are not the same. To roll with your chainsaw metaphor, he’s the one with the chainsaw, and I’m raising a concrete shield. Concrete chips are going to cut his face. I’m not in the wrong if he gets hurt because he decided to raise a chainsaw at me and I stopped him.

    When he turns his chainsaw off, though, I’ll take that shield down and let him talk, and we can discuss in good faith. (Read: takes back the inflammatory language and rephrases without namecalling.)

    As for “armchair activists”, well, we don’t have the luxury of ignoring politics anymore. I can’t keep politics off my blog. I tried, and all it did was make me sick and helpless and alone. What I CAN do is clearly tag all politics, make sure it’s interspersed with nice things, and keep it on a regular schedule – for now, the rebellion meets on Tuesdays. It keeps things from getting overwhelming. I hope more people start tagging/scheduling their politics, because burnout is coming and we’ve got to cut it off at the pass, as they say. We can’t just fight. We have to have lives.

    • Author Kristen LambAuthor Kristen Lamb

      Again balance is key. It is even key to those who are being activists. If it is fight. fight, fight all the time? You wear down. You wear your audience down. And the way we win is we change hearts and minds and talk and that just never happens attacking others. But also? Ranting on FB doesn’t change things. We change things by getting out of the house and putting our time and our dollars and our energy in what we believe. We vote. The non-stop ranting? All it is is whipping people who all believe the same thing into an ideological frenzy. They are so busy calling names, they fail to listen, to start a dialogue, to admit that maybe the other side has a valid perspective and they might be open to change if they first felt listened to.

      I.e. Feel free to hate the military and burn the flag. But remember to others that flag represents the son or husband or daughter killed in Afghanistan to protect that right to burn that flag. Generally people are NOT all evil and when we dump them into caricatures? We make no progress.

      • runsquidlingrunsquidling

        I see what you’re saying, and I agree that wearing your audience down is a real risk of being more vocal than your audience likes. The only place where we really disagree, I think, is that I think it’s worth the risk.

        On the other hand, I mostly flood Tumblr, where it’s more socially acceptable to endlessly rant. 😛

        • Author Kristen LambAuthor Kristen Lamb

          Risk goes hand in hand with reward. So what is the reward of your words? A real reward is changing a mind.

          I know when I first started blogging I was ADAMANTLY against self-publishing. All of my advice for social media was for traditionally published authors. A self-published author left a VERY thoughtful and respectful post that acknowledged what I believed (so I felt heard) but then he made his case and? I LISTENED! I completely changed from that day forward and I am SO happy he took the time to be thoughtful. Had he attacked me or called me names or labeled me “the establishment” I would not be here today.

          So, food for thought 😉 .

          • runsquidlingrunsquidling

            Thank you for that story! I’m glad that person got to you at the right time and in the right way, because you’ve been a really great resource for this aspiring writer. I’d love to be traditionally published one day, but if that’s not going to happen it’s people like you who give me hope that I might still be READ. Which is the really important part 🙂

            And I want to reiterate that I do agree that calling people names and throwing tantrums is not effective, even if it’s satisfying in the short term.

            From here, I’m going to answer your first question. It’s going to get kind of long, it’s kind of a story, but I hope it illustrates why I think the risk is worth it.

            When I was ~16, we had a women’s history class in my high school. I took it, even though I was pretty badly anti-feminist at the time and I hated the teacher. One of the first reading assignments was Speak. Obviously, rape definitions featured heavily in the class discussion.

            I was The Wrong One in class that day. Not to go into too much detail, but I was victim-blamey, and my grey area definition was waaaaaaaaay too wide, and I was extremely vocal about it. The teacher stood her ground and consistently shut me down when I crossed lines, until finally I was asked to leave.

            I was PISSED. I was so angry and self-righteous while I stood in the hallway waiting to be allowed back in. It took YEARS for me to come around. But the more I was exposed to people’s stories, the more I started to understand what she’d done. I respected her because she’d refused to give ground, and became open to everything else she’d said (which I remembered vividly because I was SO ANGRY that day).

            What she’d done was protect the rape victims in class. She didn’t know who they were, or even if there were any, but given statistics there was probably at least one, and nothing I had to say was more important than giving them a voice when they weren’t able to speak.

            So when I tell Person X off, I’m not doing it to change the mind of Person X. I’m doing it to show the people watching, especially those who are affected by what Person X says, that they are important and it is not okay when Person X says they shouldn’t exist (an example that is on my mind, because my facebook is kind of full of that right now).

            I hope that makes sense.

            • charlaynedenneycharlaynedenney

              Thing is, for every “alt-right nazi” you fear, there are at least two regular people who saw something in their life that voting would be a good change for them. A family with no job and no hope who took the promise of jobs because it was their only life-line. The wife with a sick husband and no hope of affording the “affordable” insurance because they weren’t eligible for the subsidy. The husband whose wife was in the military and lacking the basics because the budget was cut to the bone. These people don’t hate, they don’t fear, they want the country to go right and they are voting where their life is at the moment. If people could stop using the words like “nazi” and “misogynist” and sit down with someone who voted that way and listen with their hearts, they would find that, while there are the “alt-right” types, most of everyone on BOTH sides that voted did so because they needed something that their candidate was going to fix, change, or give. Hillary’s voters weren’t any different in that respect, neither was the independent who didn’t vote for either candidate. I’ve seen both sides, all sides, say the other shouldn’t exist: and that in itself should never exist because all of us should exist and should look past some vote to the heart, the true heart and not the one given by the soundbites and media wonks, because they will find common ground in wanting to be, just be.

              I choose to be open, to believe we’re alike enough to respect.

  28. Monica-Marie VincentMonica-Marie Vincent

    Oooh!!! You’re still friends with me on Facebook….so I must be at the adult table! I feel so proud!!!! 😀

    And thank you for continuing to grace my timeline with your great, witty, & thought provoking posts.

  29. LindaBLindaB

    I read an article–can’t remember the author or the article title–that said that social media came from the hacker community. And the hacker community is a free-for-all where anything and everything goes. Abuse and rants are the name of the game there, and you’d better be able to take it or you’re out. He also said, eventually social media would calm down and become more civilized. But then, no one knows how long “eventually” is. At the rate we’re going, what with people acting face-to-face the way they do on social media, it could be decades.

    I think social media are a sewer and I have a very hard time believing it does much good.

  30. annaerishkigalannaerishkigal

    I’ve been making extensive use of the Freedom / Anti-Social two-pack app, either to block the internet completely for most of the day, or the parts that prevent me from working. I’m a political moderate, so I get hammered from both sides. I just want to slink away and play with my imaginary friends. In -MY- world, I can send them all for a nap until they start playing nicely. In Facebook world, it’s a non-stop troll war.

  31. jorgekafkazarjorgekafkazar

    Fer sure. This year, I’ve already unfollowed twice as many as I did in all of 2016. I finally realized one guy is nuts; his politics are a symptom, not a choice. It’s a pity. Some think all their followers believe what they do. Soon, that becomes true.

  32. Angel L.Angel L.

    Well said!

  33. jilldefeliceart.comjilldefeliceart.com

    Fabulous timely post. I have opinions, I have strong feelings about politics, social injustice, etc and iI agree that we should be vocal about things that need to change, BUT the place to vocalize is when you can step into a situation and enact change; when you call or email your congressman, when you see injustice and can do something to correct it. Ranting and whining on FB or twitter offends me, EVEN IF I agree with your views. I have learned to back off, unfollow, and use the force wisely. My twitter account is about my writing, not the latest funny joke, not a political debate, not any one of a thousand other topics. My art page on FB is about m
    y art. My personal page shares more, but even there I have learned that posting anything political brings attacks because they always offend someone.

    Loved this post!

  34. amiegibbons15amiegibbons15

    You would think you wouldn’t see this in an office setting, but the past week, I have. There have been people just going off in the break room, making little snide political remarks when they’re chatting at their desks, and today a group tried to rope me into it.
    We’re all adults, about a fourth of us are lawyers, and yet, I swear I’ve been working with snotty teenagers.

  35. Sue @ CrushingcindersSue @ Crushingcinders

    This is so true and applicable to everyone. I totally agree that differences are welcome but drop those who attack and complain all the time. Toxic friendships not only make you unhappy but new aquaintainces who look at your social media profile will click away once they see who you associate with. Your connections serve as recommendations to your character.

  36. Don MassenzioDon Massenzio

    Reblogged this on Don Massenzio's Blog and commented:
    Here is a great post from Kristen Lamb on how your social media behavior can cost you as a writer.

  37. WendyWendy

    This week may lines were crossed making fun of the son. This was the week I unfollowed a lot of authors. I don’t understand how they don’t get their barrage of name-calling will affect their sales. I’ve seen authors I dearly love stoop to very low levels. And now people are being called names for being silent?

    I’m no longer giving my reading money to those who berate. I saw people tweeting publishing houses to NOT publish books by certain people because they voted for the “wrong” side. What????

    Your article was correct. Every sentence I was nodding my head YES!

  38. Kathryn J. BainKathryn J. Bain

    Kristen, great, great advice for anyone in business, especially authors.

    I discovered that the more I read news stories and posted in the comment sections the angrier I became at the remarks. I set myself up and got blasted by childish behavior. I’d eventually stoop to their level. I’ve decided this year to be more positive, which means no more responding to immature people. I don’t want all that anger in my life. And as a Christian author, I think it hurts my calling.

    Thanks for all your great advice. Many blessings to you and your followers this year.

  39. Skye TaylorSkye Taylor

    Excellent post Kristen. I have felt this way for awhile now. I have not unfriended anyone, but I have started hiding posts that are offensive. Not the ones I might disagree with, but the ones that are name-calling and those that aren’t open to reasonable debate, or agreeing to disagree, but the ones that are just plain nasty outrage with nowhere else to go since they aren’t into burning police vehicles or looting stores. I like a good debate – I think it’s healthy, especially for democracy. Listening to all sides of a story and being willing to at least try to understand the other point of view before slapping the insulting names on them. But I honestly don’t think FB is a good vehicle for debate, and we should start treating it like our workplace.

  40. reneeregentreneeregent

    Thank you! So what I have been feeling. As an entrepreneur and writer, I keep my personal feelings separate from business, especially when it comes to possibly flammable subjects. I understand those who say, “It;s my art, it should reflect my beliefs, and if they are offended, they are not my audience”. But why take the chance? If you want to make sales, you should AVOID trying to offend potential customers (readers), right? If you are are at a political rally, or writing a post that is for the political audience specifically, great. Have at it. But not on social media where you have no idea who believes or feels what. If you know the risk of ranting, and choose to take it and possibly lose followers, do so. I prefer to give everyone a chance to read my books! Thanks Kristen for telling it straight.

  41. wynwordswynwords

    Yep I’m staying away from Facebook right now

  42. Adriel WigginsAdriel Wiggins

    Oh, how I wish more of the internet had the same mindset. But for those of us who are adults, we’ll quietly keep unfollowing and shining a light…

  43. Gail Sanders WalrathGail Sanders Walrath

    Excellent commentary, Kristen! I want to tell some folks to go buy a pacifier and suck away. I’ve been around for a while–but never have I witnessed such spoiled “adult” brats who feel owed. Lawdy, it makes me glad I’m retired from the mental health field. That said, I understand why some folks are truly distressed while others are rejoicing. My advice is to open a Twitter Account under Politics. One can be as anonymous as they like and rant away. Save FaceBook and personal communications for friends, family and those that interest the heck out of us. In the long run, nothing is worth behaving so badly that we to ostracize our cherished ones or jeopardize future recognition!

  44. Lucy ThompsonLucy Thompson

    Preach it, sister! I had this happen on fb recently. Politely withdrew from a fellow writer who had gone from “solid, helpful writing links and nice posts” to “I HATE TRUMP and other vomit”. I left a short post saying (gently) that her posts were hurting her reputation etc. That unleashed the Christian equivalent of a Jerry Springer show in comments. Oi! I was quite shocked. But yes, if we intend to use our social media platform to sell anything (hello? Books!) then we need to be nice to our potential customers and not scream abuse at them. Cos they’ll take (I’ll take!) my money elsewhere. Bring back cute cat videos! And selfies of our plates. 😉

  45. Michael J LawrenceMichael J Lawrence

    First, thanks for approving my FB friend request! (I love your profile pic. 07)

    But– I am so sick and tired of social media spew. Everywhere I look, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter or Youtube comments, the predilection for total disrespect, bullying, mean-spiritedness and total lack of even the most residual etiquette abounds.

    Honestly, it depresses me. I have very few Facebook friends and am not about to expand that horizon much further – simply because I like having friends who know how to be polite and at least approach their political and Oped posts with thoughtfulness and a point that says, “Please think about this,” not, “You’re a total [insert epithet of choice here] if you don’t agree with me.”

    So I blog and post videos, but when it comes to who is on my friend’s list, I am picky. I like my favorite librarian who aches at the thought of having to unfriend somebody abusing their tagging privileges. I like helpful women who write great blogs and have scoped rifles. I like old gaming buddies who have become my friends in other ways. I like guys who went to the trouble of creating an entire website about how to write fiction. For free. These are the people I *choose* to be friends with. And I take them one at a time.

    And in return, I don’t spam their feeds with posts about my books, blog and videos. People keep telling me to get the word out on Facebook. But my friends don’t try to sell me tires, insurance or golf clubs. I extend the same courtesy. So, to me, Facebook really isn’t a venue for my platform. To make it so, I would have to do something I’m uncomfortable with – violate what I consider to be a simple rule of etiquette. I post things occasionally, and usually cringe when I do. I just don’t see Facebook as a proper outlet for my platform. Courtesy – it’s a two-way street.

  46. Kristy K. James...Where Romance and Fantasy CollideKristy K. James...Where Romance and Fantasy Collide

    When it became apparent that there would be no end of political ugliness and those feeding the hatred and bitterness were still going strong, I started turning off notifications, changing people from friends to acquaintances, and unfollowing them. Why? Because I realized Facebook had been feeling like a punishment for more than a year. It was depressing, it was stressful – and there didn’t appear to be an end in sight. So it was take some drastic (for me) steps or continue ruining my already dwindling social media presence. It’s been around ten days now and I still feel very worn out from what I’d begun to call an online version of WW3.

    Mostly, I avoid political discussions because I’ve found very few people who can discuss the subject without name calling, cussing, and sometimes even wishing death on those who disagree with them.

    But the whole ‘business’ thing is always in the back of my mind too. I’m on FB for three reasons – to stay up on what family and friends are doing, to have fun (not lately!), and for networking/business purposes. I don’t ever want to offend current and future readers and am pretty careful to watch what I say. I’m NOT there to shove my political and religious beliefs down their throats. I’m not there to argue. I’m not there to judge them as idiots because they don’t know the difference between their and there.

    I’m also not there to fill my mind with streams of constant negativity. And if I’ll block younger family members who won’t clean up their language, I’m darned well not going to worry about people I barely know – whether I agree with them politically or not. Not if they’re going to actively feed the hate.

  47. JennyJenny

    Kristen am an avid reader of your blog, am grateful for all your wisdom and please don’t stop speaking the truth. I had a recent incident which highlighted to me that a lot of authors need to be very careful of what they are posting – especially when it comes to the rage that seems to be about of late. An author had been venting her anger over certain recent political events and I accidentally sent her a post – it had nothing to do with her and was meant to go to someone completely different. The post was totally benign and in any other situation she probably would have thought it was great – a quote on getting over fear. She replied to me saying she wasn’t fearful and she certainly wasn’t stupid. If I had been a reader of her books I would probably have taken offence at her attitude. She needs to realise she is in business and that everyone who reads her stuff is a potential client of her books. Well, she has just lost one of those future clients. 🙂

    • JennyJenny

      That should be – I am an avid reader… 🙂

  48. Icy SedgwickIcy Sedgwick

    I quite agree! If I want to post something about my thoughts on the matter, I keep it to my friends list and try to be sarcastic or satirical. Not shouty. Then I keep my page for weird abandoned places, arty history things and cool stuff related to creativity. I want followers to be able to have a break when they come to my page!

      • Icy SedgwickIcy Sedgwick

        Wahey! I need to double-down on cute animal videos. We need more hi-fiving puppies!!

  49. eddieskastleeddieskastle

    hey there! amazing post and i agree absolutely!! fb is a great place, as long as you surround yourself with great people! i do feel the need to watch who i friend as the result could be an endless barrage of negative posts!! and it has happened! i love your topic very true and humorous! thank you!

  50. ratherearnestpainterratherearnestpainter

    I love to post pictures of my friends’ businesses. For example, a local cafe, Elgin Local Goods. I love their food; it’s from local farmers and grass-fed cows and wow it’s beautiful and delicious. I feel lately, though, that anything I post will be lost and laughably insignificant in this sea of political vitriol. (I’m speaking mainly of Facebook.)

    And, it’s not even people posting their own thoughts and opinions. If everybody had to write their thoughts and post them, there would be a lot less of the political ranting. It’s the images with the messages on them that are so easy to share, and people end up sharing 10 to 20 a day. They’re almost always snide, sarcastic and antisocial. I suppose that’s what brings out the reaction. I’m not offended by the ones that are aimed at me; I’m simply tired of ALL of them.

    But, just like any part of life, being thoughtful takes time and energy and not everybody is willing to put forth that much. It’s easier to share images that have snarky quips. I am trying to continue to post about local things, my artist friends and their work and that sort of thing. Maybe instead of feeling like a ridiculous twit I should try to see myself as Icy Sedgwick sees herself – as a fun oasis. It’s not always easy.

  51. Ellen SeltzEllen Seltz

    Yup. I don’t unfriend people for their beliefs, but I do for their behavior – including people who generally share my beliefs.
    I’ll share news and views that are thoughtful and measured, but not every.single.time.
    I get nervous about people who only post about one thing over and over. Like, are you not human? Nobody can stay that upset/focused on one thing for that long without rupturing something.

  52. R.C. ThompsonR.C. Thompson

    Belief it’s self is the problem. People rather believe than know and when a fact upends a belief they will reject the fact–and you if you presented the fact. Ideology and religions are mind killers, they tell us what and how to think. But there is not much thinking going on, rather, piles of willful ignorance are created. Thinking it’s self is attacked such as mistrust of science and the like. So when a writer presents truth by way of facts the majority of readers won’t like it. Never mess with people’s normalcy biases for god’s sake. There is no room for truth, reason, logic or facts in the market place and the powers that make money from social constructions like it that way, more so, they work hard to keep it that way. As so goes the collapse of empires.

  53. Sharon Vander MeerSharon Vander Meer

    Thanks for posting this insightful commentary about the dangers of social media. I would agree the temptation is to treat it like a toy when in fact it is a valuable tool that needs to be used wisely and well.

  54. KPerkinsKPerkins

    I’m not the only one! (I mean, logically I knew that but it’s nice to have such a well-written proof.) In the isolated world of social media, the obvious people are the ones being obnoxious, and it’s harder to find the people who are interested in respectful conversation and even friendship. I’ve unfollowed and unfriended so many people these past six months. Some I agree with, some not, and all exhausting. I’m glad to see someone standing for a little peace on the internet.

  55. KitKit

    Just what I needed to hear today. I love the perspective of Author. This really makes sense and is a well articulated commentary on social media.

  56. Jem Matzan (@JemMatzan)Jem Matzan (@JemMatzan)

    I think three issues fuel this fire:

    1. The rage fiends are so heavily invested in their online facade that they have lost connection to their real selves. Image curation has become life curation.

    2. Virtue-signalling is the poison killing social media. People need to show others that they are angry about all the right things, that they are properly white-knighting, expressing outrage, and posting selfies and other images of all the right protest stuffs.

    3. Pity has more value online than in real life. I know WAY more people who are obsessed with victimhood on Facebook than in real life, and having a conversation with them is like a psychological mugging; “Gimme all your pity, or else I’ll make you into my new villain.” When you have these pity-seekers on both sides of a political spectrum, they each paint the other side as the ultimate villain. Over time, the hate grows, and anyone who doesn’t surrender all their pity on command are also painted as villains. “You didn’t march? YOU’RE PART OF THE PROBLEM!”

    • Author Kristen LambAuthor Kristen Lamb

      BRILLIANT! OMG “psychological mugging”????? I AM SO STEALING THAT! GENIUS!

  1. Sharing: Generation Butthurt—How Being Constantly Offended (and Offensive) Costs BIG — Kristen Lamb’s Blog – C.C. WILEY

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