Friday, October 26, 2012

Keep 'Em Separated?

On Twitter (which I'm still not convinced I like), I've been following some literary agents. Sometimes they get political. As this is a hotly-contested presidential election this year in the U.S., talking politics can get you into some pretty stellar arguments.

Which is fine. Disagreement and talking about issues is what we do in this country (though sometimes not very well if all the nastiness I see on both sides is any evidence...).

But what I'm wondering is this: should you mix politics/religion/other hot button issues, with business?

I understand that we all have opinions. But I also think there is a time and place to share them precisely because they can be so divisive. I understand there are some that don't care about these topics (and sometimes I wish I didn't, either, as my blood pressure would thank me) and there are those who hold passionate beliefs and have no problem airing them for all to see.

If, however, you interact with the public on a daily basis, and that public includes a wide swathe of people on all sides of the political spectrum, is it necessarily wise to start discussing politics or religion? Celebrities tend to get away with it as they have a huge following and can afford to alienate a few people if those people choose to boycott them based on their political/religious beliefs (I'm not a fan of boycotts, but that is another topic I don't want to get into).

But let's confine this to the literary world. Agents, editors, marketers, and publishers: should they mix politics with business? What about aspiring authors? If an aspiring author who was trying to find an agent posted a bunch of politically one-sided ads, would it hurt his or her chances at getting an agent even if their writing was stellar? I guess I'd like to ask that question of some agents and editors, too.

I tend to think we should keep business and politics separate.

What do you think?

10 comments:

  1. I actually feel pretty strongly about this for my own approach to social media, and that is that I stay away from politics. The other day I started to tweet something snarky about who I consider the opponent and deleted it. Because when I disagree strongly with someone, it colors my opinion of them, no doubt about it and I don't want someone turned off to my message because of the same idea on their part. Really great post, Melissa. And, for the record, I adore Twitter. It's my favorite!

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    1. I agree with you, Charlotte. If we feel really strongly about an issue or a politician, it does color our opinion of each other when we share those opinions. I think that's human nature. But like you, I really do think it is best left out of the business realm.

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  2. Most definitely keep them separated. We might live in an era where all things are shared, but that doesn't mean they need to be.

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  3. Melissa, I agree with you too-keep them separated!

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    1. Great minds think alike! =)

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  4. I would definitely keep them separate. There have been times when I've been tempted to comment on something but have refrained.

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  5. I definitely keep them separate - but then I'm not an agent so I couldn't possibly comment on what they do!

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  6. Oh, I definitely think they should be kept separate. I don't mix politics and professionalism at all, and while on my blog I get personal, I try to keep it to a "universal" kind of personal without details. I'm with you, though. I see some of the things people post and wonder how it affects that professional side of things.

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