By Suzanne Kuhn, SuzyQ
The holiday season is almost here, and this is a good time to use relevant subjects on your social media. However, please be aware that you may open a can of worms. Don’t be afraid of it; just proceed with caution.
I like to ask questions that get my friends and followers thinking and revealing bits of their personalities. “Which is your favorite Girl Scout cookie?” was the seemingly innocent question I asked on my personal Facebook page. It was Girl Scout cookie season after all, and I was looking forward to a relaxed and friendly conversation about something that’s almost a national pastime. Many people have either sold or at least enjoyed a Girl Scout cookie at one time or another.
I often ask questions, inquiring and soliciting “friends” opinions (i.e. Let me live vicariously through you – what are you doing this weekend?, What’s your favorite breakfast food?, etc.). As it happened, there had been conversation brewing about whether the Girl Scouts were somehow partnered with Planned Parenthood and perhaps even donating cookie proceeds to this organization. This was not a conversation I wanted to join.
A few friends answered by naming their favorite cookie. Then my harmless post quickly became political and spiritual. All of my friends were subject to the description of what takes place during an abortion, which this friend thought was justified since Girl Scout cookies were directly linked to abortion. I was beyond shocked. Some friends attempted to help by answering the actual question, but the attempts to reign in the conversation went unnoticed by those trying to make a point.
Those of you who have attended my workshops know that I will not delete negative comments. But I was unwilling to lose control of my own Facebook page. I needed to reestablish control over my own page without offending any of my friends, no matter what their viewpoints. So I wrote, “Although I respect all of you, and your political and spiritual convictions, I’m deeply disappointed and saddened that this question has transformed into a political topic. If you notice, I had not mentioned whether I would or would not be purchasing Girl Scout cookies. Instead, I chose to ask a simple unifying question, “which is your favorite”. Regardless of whether or not you will be purchasing Girl Scout cookies this year, everyone has a favorite flavor and that was my question.” The conversation turned back around and was back on track.
Social media can be filled with land mines and hidden agendas of others. You must stay on top of all the content associated with you. Just because you don’t post something negative on your page doesn’t mean someone else won’t. And remember; your friends and fans are already your readers or are potentially your readers. Is it worth losing them to argue your point?
Girl Scout cookie season starts in a couple of months. What’s your favorite cookie? 😉
Suzanne Kuhn of SuzyQ has 25 years of book retailing and event sales experience. Her knowledge in the book-retailing venue gives her an edge when coaching and training authors in reader engagement, developing promotions for increased sales and reader loyalty, and coordinating live events. Suzanne truly believes in the power of Christian literature to impact and change lives. Connect with Suzanne:
Thin Mints 🙂 I ran unwittingly into a firestorm when I posted a funny bit about my husband giving me my flu shot. He’s a pharmacist. I’m a pharmacist. I don’t SEE controversies with flu shots. Whoa, nelly. I had no idea how controversial they are! My comment feed went…viral. It wasn’t pretty. The pharmacist in me wanted to post balanced, scientific information. The author/friend in me had to button my lips.
Another friend posted about a health issue – she felt crummy and depressed about it. She just wanted sympathy and prayer. What she got – lectures about using essential oils, herbal remedies, homeopathy, a gluten-free diet, etc.
I’m always amazed when people use someone else’s Facebook post for their personal rants. Yikes.
Sarah, it really is remarkable. I’m sorry I missed your “viral” hijacking.
It’s always a pleasure to guest blog for my ACFW friends! Thanks for the opportunity.
I grew up in New Zealand, and there was only one flavour. We described it as shortbread (for the occasional American living in the neighbourhood), but it was actually just plain. But people loved them.