Friday, 27 November 2020

T The Pro-Active Author

Your Words Have Power to Heal or Harm

I live near Denver, Colorado and watch some local news on Channel 9.  Countless times I've watched Marty Coniglio give his weather forecast. He has been with the station for 16 years. Like many in journalism, Coniglio is active on Twitter. Last week, he sent out a tweet comparing federal troops to Nazis. Here's the details in the Denver Post article. He is no longer employed at the station. As I read the story, it reminded me that our words have power.

The Danger of A Habit

As a reader, I have been reading and listening to books for years. Each time I write a short review (normally less than 150 words) and post my review on Amazon and Goodreads. I've written over 1,000 Amazon reviews and over 600 reviews on Goodreads (where I have 5,000 friends and my reviews get a lot of attention and reading). I read and listen to many different types of books. Recently I listened to part of a bestselling book—which was filled with hatred (in my view every sentence). As an editor, I often evaluate a book based on a short portion. In this case, I decided not to listen to the rest of the book and wrote that information into my short review. I followed my habit and posted the review on Amazon and Goodreads. There are hundreds of reviews for this book and my review joined those reviews.

The final portion of my habit is to post my review with the cover on social media. I have over 200,000 Twitter followers, over 18,900 connections on LinkedIn and over 4900 Facebook friends. I didn't think about my posting because it is a habit. The reaction surprised me but I should have known when I did it. I spent about 48 hours on Facebook monitoring, deleting and even blocking some people (when you have 4,900 “friends” it is no big personal loss to block some people). My short post was consuming way too much energy and time. I deleted the post on all of my social media platforms. In a few minutes, it was gone. Did lots of people see it? Yes and I learned even with a habit to think about each post.

I temporarily forgot some critical things about the Internet and social media. While you may be writing the material for yourself, other people read it. part of the social media process is other people are going to respond and react to whatever you said. Also these words are often out online forever. In this volatile, on-edge world, common sense reminds of the small talk advice: “avoid religion and politics.” It also applies to our social media. From this experience, I was reminded our words matter. In fact, our words have power and people read them. It's good to use caution and wisdom with what you put online.

As you write today, be aware your words have power to heal or to harm. 


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Columnist: Terry Whalin

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W. Terry Whalin, a writer and acquisitions editor lives in Colorado. A former  magazine editor and former literary agent, Terry is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. He has written more than 60 nonfiction books including Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams. To help writers, he has created 12-lesson online course called Write A Book Proposal. His website is located at: www.terrywhalin.com.

 

 

 

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