Writers need readers. Simple enough. I’ve taken advantage of Facebook to boost postings and engage with new readers. I blog, both on my website and with other writers and bring links about those posts to Facebook. But I have become cautious about posting anything but easy thoughts on my website (firstname.lastname@example.org).
All who have reacted in a civil manner to postings or photos are greatly appreciated. The hatemongers and brutes on Facebook are another experience. Respectful disagreement appears to have disappeared into rambling, often vulgar, statements that not only disagree but also add opinions about the supposed personality of the writer. While blog responses can be prescreened, not so on Facebook.
I began my writing career as a journalist. People disagreed with editorial content and called or wrote letters. We also had a few cranky folks who would show up at the office. They weren’t fond of conversation, were more prone to raise their voice to tell you their thoughts, maybe with a few vulgarities, even pound on a desk. Sometimes we’d call a family member to help us out, a time or two we called the police. In general, people owned their opinions with names and addresses on letters or by talking face to face. We didn’t deal with people hiding behind threatening screen names. We never expected to be harmed, stalked, or killed.
It is a different time. While holding the right to free speech dearly, I am perplexed about how to deal with the verbally abusive responders. At this point I hide their comments. I hear from others that this is part of today’s communication and just not pay attention to what is ugly. Unfortunately I can’t forget.
What’s your experience and do you have any advice?