The Citizen Writer

In CC’s and my weekly podcast for writers, we talked about if a writer has a responsibility to be an engaged community citizen, and we got into the pros and cons of putting ourselves out there in the “real world,” so to speak. Social Media (SM) gives us both a pathway into the debate of our choosing, and a window into the character of strangers who agree and disagree with us.

CC takes the position of non-engagement when it comes to politics and other sensitive SM subjects, and y’all probably know I’m the engager. As I say in the podcast, I cannot not sit on the sidelines when discussing the troubles in our society. I often tread where angels (like CC) fear to tread.

Being this special kind of idiot is not without risk. I’ve been called all sorts of names and held up as a fool (not entirely without justification). On the other hand, I’m gratified by the much larger number of fellow SM surfers of similar minds. All in all, I’m happy to hear all levels of opinions, but I will not be silent when there are windmills to tilt at.

As for you, fellow writer, I believe you should engage because writers are trained to stimulate the thoughts and imagination of our readers. It’s the core of our professional existence. But dive in only if you feel safe to do so. You must look to your own good mental health before dipping a toe in the sewer-pit known as the internet. And under no circumstances should you feel obligated to wade in. Your first responsibility is to yourself. Once you’re on firm ground, then perhaps cast a line into the SM muck.

CC explains it much better in our podcast, so take a listen and feel free to push back. Let’s debate away and get to a better place. Thanks for reading.

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