Stay in your lane.
That’s something I’ve learned the hard way a few times.
As an author myself with a book coming out in a few short months, I know it’s tempting to discuss politics or health issues even though my background is in technology, marketing, business, and productivity.
Recently, the author Ryan Holiday started posting about a mask policy at his bookstore in Texas. Without commenting on the political aspects or health issues (obviously), the episode has erupted into a hotbed of debate. The first post has over 1,200 comments.
He shows a photo of a letter he received complaining about the policy. The comments are typically like this one: “Sad to see this message from you.”
The follow-up post, where the author explains more details about the story and shows screenshots of a Newsweek article, has even more finger-pointing from both sides.
The response to that one: “Stick to stoicism please and spare me the ideological and medical peer pressure.” Many of the comments take a harsh, defensive stance.
What’s this all about anyway?
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Nothing good, it seems.
Holiday is famous for his books on stoicism and working with more purpose. He’s an icon in the field, and his followers seem to cling to his every word.
These recent posts? Not so much.
Most of the comments are along the lines of asking the author to stick to his main gig. I feel sorry for him partly because the post seemed out of the blue, and also because he keeps chasing the trolls who are out to attack him.
Again, I won’t comment about my personal views here on the pandemic, but it’s obvious that both sides are angry. The more you issue a rebuttal to a comment on social media the more it backfires. Like a perpetual machine that spews filth, if you keep tapping on the beast it will keep spewing junk on you and everyone else.
The tip here is to stop tapping, stop commenting, and ignore the posts. If I were Holiday, I’d consider deleting the original posts altogether. They are not sitting well with his audience and, frankly, the audience is important.
We might tend to think it is perfectly fine to break from the norm and post about topics we normally don’t discuss. Maybe you’ll make your constituency angry and we have the freedom to do that. And yet, my take on this is that the constituency is not just random people. They buy the books. They should have a chance to state their own views as well, and they are. The trick is to avoid being the one that causes the anger.
It looks like a nightmare of attacks and altercations that is not subsiding in my estimation. Why even start the fire in the first place?