Works and Plays Well With Others

Back during the time I was in the Air Force, one of the things we were rated on annually was our ability to “work and play well with others.” It wasn’t worded like that on our performance reports, but we all knew what it really meant. You had to possess the ability to put aside your personal feelings and get along with everyone in the workplace.

In today’s internet driven world, where we hide behind a computer screen, it’s difficult to remember that when interacting on social media. Using hurtful words and adding an LOL means you don’t really want to hurt the person, yet what you’ve just said had that exact effect. The individual you just ridiculed is reading your comment and they are angry and in pain from your senseless attack.

As authors, we have to constantly watching what we say and do on social media. Everyone we interact with is a potential reader. Insulting a person can have far reaching effects, and not just in your book sales. Your sarcastic quip and the emoji or LOL you left can reach out and hurt every single author you are associated with.

I’m sure more than a few people are sitting back and swearing they don’t do this to hurt anyone. It was just a joke. Right? You were only making fun of their post, or some of the responses.

Therein lies the problem.

Social media desensitizes us to the actual reaction of others. We’re not face to face with these people and aren’t seeing their reaction to our hurtful words. We think we made an appropriate comment, albeit a bit snarky and went along on our merry way. Even the private message we got from that person about how hurtful our words were doesn’t penetrate the feeling that we made a great joke at someone else’s expense.

As we go on about our merry way of promoting our books, encouraging people to buy them, we might notice a little problem. Our reach to our fans isn’t as good as it was a few days ago. The likes on our Facebook fan page has decreased, far more than it usually does. We’re having comments appear on our Twitter posts—comments that indicate we’re not a very nice person. Some authors have experienced the embarrassment of having the person they insulted contact their publisher and indicate they’re probably not a good fit for that publisher due to their lack of manners on social media.

Oh, yes, you’re now beginning to see where this fall out goes. You are now losing sales. Interest in your soon to be released book has vanished. Your friends on social media are turning their backs on you, if they stick around. You have become a social media pariah.

Can you salvage your reputation after something this huge? Is there a chance of ever selling another book, or your publisher offering you another contract?

Probably not. Social media is a one mistake world. Stop and think before making your mistake. It could end your career.

About K.C. Sprayberry

Born and raised in Southern California’s Los Angeles basin, K.C. Sprayberry spent years traveling the United States and Europe while in the Air Force before settling in northwest Georgia. A new empty nester with her husband of more than twenty years, she spends her days figuring out new ways to torment her characters and coming up with innovative tales from the South and beyond.

She’s a multi-genre author who comes up with ideas from the strangest sources. Those who know her best will tell you that nothing is safe or sacred when she is observing real life. In fact, she considers any situation she witnesses as fair game when plotting a new story.