Taking the High Road in Social Media

I have a bit of catching up to do with my blog posts, so please excuse the onslaught of (only three!) posts.

Whooooo-eeee! I ruffled some feathers recently with a daily question and I wanted to address that part of being on social media in today’s post. I usually try to find a segue into the guest interview for each episode based on something that gets brought up in said interview when it’s recorded, but this is not discussed with today’s guest. However, I felt it an important topic to address.

In all my posts, I strive for positivity. If you follow me on Twitter, you might have noticed this. I don’t agree with shaming someone who’s trying to make a positive difference and help others hone their craft.

No one is forcing you to agree with something someone says.

When I share information, I share things that I’ve learned, that I find useful, that I’ve researched, that have been taught to me by experts, and that I agree with (obviously). I don’t share misinformation.

Here’s a tip: if you don’t agree with someone’s post, keep scrolling. Move along. It costs nothing to be kind. Choose kindness! But to get into a negative conversation on someone’s tweet and talk about them like they’re not right there watching is, well asinine. It’s essentially the equivalent of high school students standing around at their lockers pretending that they don’t see the person they’re making fun of, talking purposely loud and then saying “Oops, I didn’t see you standing there,” and running away giggling. It’s juvenile and uncalled for.

The post in question was about the overuse of exclamation marks. It’s like anything else in writing. Some are for using lots of them, some are against. Some are for self-publishing, and some are for traditional publishing. Some are for head-hopping within the same scene, and some are against it. Everyone has their own style, their own preferences. There are guidelines released into the writing community because they are “generally accepted” by most writers. Are they hard and fast rules? No. Are there exceptions? Absolutely.

I think it’s healthy to have constructive conversations about things. I also think it’s important to have conversations that spark debate because it opens up the chance to learn and to see other perspectives. But people can disagree and still offer valuable input without being offensive.

Nothing in my posts is ever said with ill intent. I never aim to be offensive. I keep my posts positive, sometimes I add in a touch of humour, and my main goals are to a) spark conversation, b) get people thinking about their writing projects, c) share knowledge about things I have learned and that have worked for me, and d) engage with people. I love engaging with so many of you every day. It makes me happy.

In no way do my posts invite people to be so ornately negative and rude, yet sometimes, it happens. It happens to everyone sooner or later. Someone isn’t going to like what you have to say, and they’re going to choose to be an asshole about it and they’re going to leave rude replies.

Now, this can go one of two ways:

One is that you can respond to their rudeness in an effort to defend yourself or tell them no one is forcing them to follow whatever you posted about. They are welcome to walk away but they won’t because looking for a reaction so they can continue to act this way. You can politely explain your position all you want, but they’ll still be demeaning and rude.

The nice, kind-hearted person in me wants to believe they’re having a rough day and they’re taking it out on the first person they see in their Twitter feed where they feel they can get their digs in. My personality makes me initially want to believe that they don’t mean to be rude.

But they still are being rude. And being rude is a choice. And when someone else who agrees replies to them and they get a whole negative, rude, condescending conversation going on your thread, just know that anything you say will only fuel their fire. It’s a complete waste of your time, energy, breath, etc. (Ask me how I know.)

The other thing a couple of people did on my post was to comment on my incorrect use of “less” instead of the correct “fewer.” I laughed. I mean, really? If I spent as much time editing my tweets as I do editing documents, I would never do anything except be on Twitter. We all make errors in our tweets. Who cares?

The second option is to… walk away. That’s it. Choose to take the high road. Don’t engage. These people are welcome to their opinions, just as you are welcome to yours. If you do try to explain your point or stand your ground and you get nailed for it, just smile and nod, and walk away before things get even uglier. No one needs that kind of negativity.

I suppose a third option is to engage head-on, shields up, fire away. Note: I do not recommend this.

My aim is not to force people to believe one thing or the other. My aim is to share information in a friendly, upbeat, positive manner. Take it or leave it—no one is forcing you to do something you don’t agree with.

So my advice today is this: walk away. Walk away from those who aim to shame. Just like they choose to push you down, choose to ignore them. You’ll be tempted to defend yourself, but I know from living with a narcissist for a decade—it won’t get you anywhere. The difference between them and me is that I’m completely ok if someone doesn’t choose to write the same way I do. It’s none of my concern how someone else chooses to write or what guidelines they do or don’t follow. I simply want to help other writers by sharing the information I’ve gained and I respect that not everyone shares the same way of doing things. But they are not ok with it—so much so that their way is the only way, and to prove it, they’ll publicly shame anyone who says otherwise.

If you don’t like what someone says, scroll on by. There is no need to post something negative and offensive in response. If you respectfully disagree and can offer some valuable input in a positive way, engage in conversation with friendliness and an open mind. Healthy debates are important.

And when the time comes that someone replies to you with a jerk response, you, too, can keep on scrolling. If it gets bad enough, you have the option of a) hiding the comments from your tweet, and b) blocking those people.

It’s important to take the high road when you’re on social media so that you can maintain a certain level of professionalism or whatever it is that you’re wanting to portray. For me, that definitely includes professionalism, but it is also friendliness, approachability, helpfulness, and positivity. Your posts and your responses can say a lot about you, so always be careful about what you choose to publicly say. Cuz once it’s out there, it’s out there, and it can’t be taken back.

And yes, to some, this might sound like I’m not taking the high road because I’m publicly complaining about people’s rudeness. I could choose to not say anything, but I think this most recent incident gives an opportunity to learn and talk about how to handle situations like this when they arise. Bickering online is pointless and not a healthy way to engage on social media. But I don’t stand for people being rude. For many years I was conditioned to let someone walk all over me, and it destroyed me for a time. But I rose from the ashes and now I take the high road because I’m better than the rudeness of others. And so are you. Don’t let it get to you. This segment is about me telling you from experience that it’s ok to walk away.

My advice is to be the best you that you can be! Be kind and others will return kindness. I’m a helper. I’ve always been a helper. It’s what I love to do, it’s what I’m good at. And I choose to spread kindness because I wholeheartedly believe it is helpful for others in so many ways. So, yes. If I post a tweet full of information you don’t agree with, that’s great! If you have a different view you’d like to share, or a different source of information aboutu something that you find works better for you, please, share it. I welcome that. We’re all in this writing community together and it’s all about learning and growing and positivity. (At least it should be positive). Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and their own way of doing things. It’s not right or wrong, just like it’s not right or wrong for me to post whatever it is that I’m posting. You do you, I’ll do me.

Right! Now that that’s off my chest… let’s get to today’s guest!

C.M. QUINN IS an author from Sydney, Australia, who has been writing since her early teens. She began writing on numerous online platforms, including Wattpad, before making the transition into self-publishing in 2021. With a deep love of fantasy and paranormal stories, she’s often lost in the worlds she creates or buried under a pile of notes, though never too far from a pot of tea.

The Girl of Ash and Snow is her debut novel.

You can find C.M. Quinn on her website at http://www.cmquinnauthor.com and on Twitter @CM_Quinn21.

Be sure to listen to the episode here so you can catch my convo with C.M.!

Published by kathleenfoxx

Author of domestic thrillers and gothic horror.

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