Being nice people

For someone who writes a lot about crime and the horrible things some disturbed people are capable of, I am perhaps surprisingly unsettled by plain and simple unkindness and thoughtlessness.

I saw a weird thing on Twitter this week. A well-respected author posted a link to their highly critical review of a book by another author and tagged the author of the work criticised in the tweet! I was genuinely shocked. Twitter is a difficult medium but it looked less like transparency and more like being outright mean-spirited (though I accept, this may not have been the intention). As author Steve Mosby (You Can Run. I Know Who Did It. Dark Room and others) acknowledged at the time, not everyone is going to like your work, and it is also fine to review the work of others – we learn and grow as writers through feedback – but with the power of one’s voice, comes responsibility and that responsibility includes, well… just being NICE people.

I have something of a love/hate relationship with social media. Recently, weary of so much negativity I was seeing online, I decided to cull my use of social media. This is a bit of a double-edged sword for a writer. Agents and publishers like us to have a ‘presence’ online and some are brilliant at creating this through the medium of, for example, Twitter and blogs. According to my analytics, my blogs do OK (reminder to self, invest more energy into it!) but I am hopeless with Twitter and Facebook (or face-ache as a friend calls it). To me, twitter especially just feels like shouting in an empty room. On the other hand, I just wrote one or two reviews of books and products myself and perhaps because of Steve Mosby’s twitter reminder I took great care with my feedback.

On a slightly different, but related note, I was seriously impressed with the Brighton Rockers Roller Derby team this week. In response to transphobia in their local newspaper they made a video called #Changetogether. It is a really uplifting and inspiring video and I heartily recommend you check it out. It is posted on their Facebook Page.