The Power of Words (Guarding Your Social Media Reputation)

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June 2, 2016

The Power of Words (Guarding Your Social Media Reputation)

by Jan Fields

I recently realized something very important -- "Everything you say can and
probably will be used against you." We live in the information age and
little things can become big things really fast.

For example, although it is true that editors and agents are not cruising
the net looking for your super writing on your website or blog, it's also
true that editors and agents spend a lot of time on the Internet. And they
have friends who spend a lot of time on the Internet. And they have clients
who spend a lot of time on the Internet. So, imagine I post something on my
blog or on a writer's discussion board or on Facebook saying "Ellie Editor
at Imaginary Kid Magazine  rejected my fantastic story and I really wanted
to get in the magazine (because I thought it was really cool before she
rejected me.) So she's a doodiehead and her magazine sucks."

Now, Ellie Editor might never see that - but there's a decent chance an
internet search for her name could turn up the unfortunate doodiehead
remark. And maybe she'll laugh and shake her head, and maybe she'll think,
"Why the heck is this woman calling me a doodiehead?" And maybe she'll even
take the extra moment to think, "I don't like her - what's her name anyway?"
And maybe some other editor friends of hers will take up her offense and
well, my professional life would be about to take a hit.

Maybe it would become something of an internet joke that I called her a
doodiehead. And maybe folks would begin associating my name with big ol'
whiner about rejections. Or maybe I become the poster girl for "writers
behaving badly." And the first thing I know I'm infamous and not in a way
that helps your career.

So, what's the lesson? Don't call editors doodieheads. And don't let your
friends do it either.

My friends? What about my friends? Well, imagine I post on a message board
the Editor Ellie sent me a rejection letter that hurt my feelings. Then all
my dear writer friends call her doodiehead and lemurface. Guess whose name
is going to be remembered? Right, the original poster.and, um, I don't want
that to be me. Do you want your name associated with expletives you didn't
even utter? I've seen it happen.

If you want more writing instruction like this, plus lots of tips and great resources, click here!


But there is a bit more here. Sometimes the thing that becomes public is
something you intended to be private. Maybe someone got on your last nerve
or did something you believe was totally wrong. So you blasted that person
in a private email and they posted it on a public board. Now what? Now
something you emailed in a fit of temper is going to be associated with your
name - goodie. Do you know how many times I've seen the words, "Well, I
would never buy her book!" connected with an unfortunate burst of
overreaction by a writer? Far, far, too many.

As writers, we should be aware of the power of words. Words linger. Words
affect change in the minds of the reader. And the written word can be an
excellent way to present your professional face, or an amazing way to
self-destruct your career (or at least derail it for a bit). So, the time is
now to guard your words and your temper. If you must overreact, yell at your
monitor, stomp around your house, kick the sofa cushions, but don't take
keyboard in hand.  If you find yourself typing something to "show someone"
or "put someone in their place" - stop, and have a cup of tea before pushing
"send." Then re-read what you wrote, would it reflect well on you if it were
made public? If not, it's honestly not worth it. Let it go.

We're in one of the most frustrating professions you can choose and we all
get a little pinched around the eyes now and then. But your reputation can
be as fragile as a blown eggshell, and just as hard to put back together. So
guard it well.

If you want more writing instruction like this, plus lots of tips and great resources, click here!



Comments

Cheryl Lambrecht
July 10, 2016

Excellent help.

Zeta Blankenship
July 9, 2016

Great reminder! Loved the doodiehead reference! I believe in the power of words and have the force to heal or harm, so we must choose wisely and use words to build up not tear down each other. We don't have to agree to get along and remain respectful to each other. My Daddy taught me If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all, I try my best to follow that wisdom. Thanks, Jan

Sue Ford
June 16, 2016

Good post done with a touch of humor!

Marjorie Goertzen
June 8, 2016

Thanks for this excellent article, Jan. I can see a much wider application for your wisdom than just for those of us writers wrestling with rejection! The book of Proverbs has a lot to say about the power of words.

Robin Newman
June 7, 2016

Excellent advice in general, not just for writers.

Marjorie Goertzen
June 2, 2016

Thanks for this excellent article, Jan. I can see a much wider application for your wisdom than just for those of us writers wrestling with rejection! The book of Proverbs has a lot to say about the power of words.

Kristi Holl
June 2, 2016

Excellent advice, Jan!

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Great Read!

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