Social Media – The Back Fence

Years ago, it was considered cool to get your news from the “back fence,” where neighbors would meet to talk about what was going on in the area. In the twenty-first century, far too many people are busier than they were back then with work, dealing with their children’s activities, and involved with their own lives to stop and enjoy those back fence moments. Yet, we’ve managed to do that in another way.

Our current back fence is social media. We “meet” people we only know through their profile information and discuss local and world events. We share information—sometimes it’s true, other times you should have done your research. The information accessed on this virtual back fence has a major drawback for the author—your career in writing can be destroyed if you say the wrong thing on your back fence.

What is the wrong thing to say?

First, I want to point out that I firmly believe in freedom of speech. We all should be able to say what we want about a situation at any given time. We should be able to express our opinions without backlash.


Reality is much different from what should be. As authors, our reality is that we have to consider the feelings of our fans. We live in a world that is currently focusing on their feelings—not the feelings of others, but only their own feelings about any given situation. What you say regarding religion, politics, or the current news can and will affect your sales.

I can hear a lot of you crying out that I’m wrong. Am I? Are you willing to risk losing fans and sales to speak your mind about any of the current “hot” situations? Do you need to see your sales dwindle to nearly nothing in order to understand that we now live in a time where the feelings of others doesn’t count, only a single person’s mindset is what is important?

It’s hard seeing these posts on Facebook or tweets on Twitter you agree with and being unable to share them with your opinion attached. Try objecting to what someone else has posted and you’re about to discover just how hateful people can be when their views are challenged. Unless and until the world discovers that freedom of speech is a right enjoyed by all, and that you have the right to express your opinion, even if it is the unpopular one, authors must take the high road and remain mute about hot topics in order to develop a lasting fan base.


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