I sat down this afternoon intending to prepare and schedule some Five on Friday posts, and if I was lucky, also aimed to catch up with some reviews. However one of the tweets I read this morning, and my response to it, got me thinking about what we post. It also picked up on a question that was posed on a Facebook page a while ago about making ‘personal’ posts on your Twitter page.
The tweet that made me think was from my friend and author Gina Kirkham who shared one of her blog posts yesterday to coincide with London Pride. It was a post about being supportive and inclusive of her own family members that are gay. However as a result she lost a lot of Twitter followers and had some offensive replies. Thankfully her response was to share it again and I was happy to Retweet in support. Whether that loses me any followers I don’t know and should I care?
The question that was posed on Facebook (which I can’t now find) related to the best of my remembering about making non book related Twitter posts on your Twitter feed. My personal view is, it’s your Twitter feed, so it’s up to you what you post and share. For those whose blogs are entirely book related I can see that restricting your Twitter feed to bookish posts is entirely consistent, especially when it operates under a blog/author banner.
For others, like myself, who don’t restrict their blog to bookish topics, I will post whatever takes my fancy. Obviously because of my recent ‘dance’ with cancer I have other followers with cancer and I will like, share and RT their posts. But I will also like, share and RT any other posts that take my fancy, irregardless of topic. When I first jumped into the wacky world of Twitter it was as Jill’s Book Cafe and I did for the most part restrict it to bookish posts. But a while ago I changed it to Jill @JillsBookCafe a subtle change, but I felt it was more me and allowed me to dive in to share whatever I wanted.
So back to the question, should I just because I can? For me the answer is yes. The thing is I’ve never been good at keeping shtum. If you ask friends who know me, they would probably describe me as opinionated and gobby – and I can’t argue with that, I am. So passing by on Twitter isn’t easy for me. I will pass comment, I will share posts that I agree with and others might not, and that’s the issue that causes problems. As ever, its other people.
Should I consider ‘other people’ before I Tweet or Retweet. Clearly yes, in the sense that I would never intentionally post anything that was offensive. Of course, what is offensive is a minefield, but it seems to me that too many people take offence at anything that they don’t agree with. Before I start down the road of hypocrisy, in that I can say what I like, but no-one else can, let me try to clarify. For anyone who doesn’t know me, I am not particularly religious (more agnostic than atheist, with Buddhist leanings) and I have no issues whatsoever with other people’s religious leanings. I am heterosexual, but I have no problems with anyone who is isn’t. I’m white but I don’t have issues with anyone who isn’t. I’m British/English, but don’t have issues with anyone who isn’t. I think you get the message, just because I’m one thing, doesn’t mean that’s the ‘only’ thing. Essentially I try and live a “do as you would be done by” sort of life. So essentially, I try and treat people in the same way as I would like them to treat me. So the things I take offence at are the things that I, and I hope most right-minded people would take offence at, namely racism, homophobia, animal cruelty, poverty, greed and abuse of any description, I could go on (and frequently do as my OH will tell you). So those are the things that I might rail against on Twitter and yes at times it means it gets political. But that is how I feel, and I don’t feel I should censor myself on my page. Similarly I wouldn’t expect other people to either.
If people take offence at my views, then that is their choice and should they choose to unfollow, I’m happy for them to do so. When I started this blog it was to have a place to bring my reviews together. That people actually followed me, was a happy bonus. Over time, it has also became a place for me to share my views on other bookish things, and also more personal issues. So this blog is me, and by extension so is my Twitter page. For me, there is also an arrogance in assuming that what I say matters, if that makes sense. I’m not some boy band member that has to pretend to be single to avoid alienating fans. I’m not selling anything, I’m not looking to gain a following or readership, I’m simply sharing my opinions. If you don’t agree or don’t want to read them, then just pass on by, or if you feel the need, unfollow. But life is too short to spend it worrying about what other people think. There is a lovely quote that sums up my view and this is it,