Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Commenting on Social Media

 Let me ask you a question. Okay, maybe more than one.

  • Are you male or female?
  • Are you gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, asexual or pansexual?
  • Are you monogamous or polyamorous?

The chances are if you’re reading this you’re either female and straight or male and gay. Of course that’s a total assumption on my part, and probably wrong.

And that’s how I feel sometimes when I read odd comments on social media. People make assumptions without thinking who might be reading it. KJ Charles wrote a blog about the Ten Ways Authors Fail on Social Media. In it she talks about the three circles of people you may forget you are sharing your posts/comments/tweets.
  • Fans
  • Wider potential readership
  • People who aren't going to read your books or share your content 
Here I’m really talking about the first two circles for anyone on social media. I see three types of comments from people who aren’t thinking about who could be reading it.
  • ·         Supporting your friend because someone has upset them. Your friend puts out a pity-me post because someone (usually unnamed) online has upset them, and suddenly there are fifty comments saying “Poor you. People are horrible. Ignore the bitch”. We all do it. We want to show support. But what happens when ‘the bitch’ is also your friend? You’ve made a random comment and they could be reading it. How does that make them feel about you?
  • ·         Supporting an author who can’t write sex/plot/long books/short stories/fast/short etc. There will be comments supporting the author. Of course you want to support them. But why do you have to say “Authors who write XYZ are crap” or something similar. Chances are there is an author reading your comment who writes the complete antithesis of the person who needs support, and you’re telling them they are inadequate.
  • ·         And finally, because this is something that bugs the living hell out of me… we write about men, we post pictures of guys, we talk about actors/celebrities/porn stars etc. For most of you men are your subject of interest but you know some of us like girls too. Seeing a comment like “God, I hate seeing photos of women. It’s only the men we’re interested in” or PMing someone to scold them for posting pictures of women because we should only show men really makes me feel like hey, women are just second-class - again. Also making a derogatory comment about women in general. Just no. Think about it.

I’m not saying don’t support your friends. Just think about what you’re saying. Are you putting someone else (who could well be reading it) down in your eagerness to be a good friend?


  1. Well said. Truly believe there's a special place in hell for women who don't support other women...opinion based on 40 years working in corporate environment. :)

    1. I had that unpleasant experience, I won't say where but after it had happened to me, a senior male employee told me about the gender bias perpetrated by the women employees against women in lower ranks. I could have done with an earlier warning.

  2. Yes! Thank you for this post, these are good reminders for all of us.

    I am always reading comments and posts and feeling horrible about myself. Also as someone who is fairly clueless about the politics of social media I end up saying the wrong thing to the wrong person a lot. I should probably keep better track of who is friends with whom, but honestly I just want to go online, be friendly, have fun, and not think about that kind of thing. Lately, I have stayed off facebook because it just became too much work.

    I wasn't very good at junior high the first time around either :)

    1. It should be fun, not work. I end up staying away because I'm pissed off and need to sit on my hands.

  3. I think a great many of us feel we need to do likewise Sue. Social Media is a nightmare at times.

    1. It's a minefield of potential hurt feelings. All those examples I saw over the last couple of days.