Social Media, Speaking Your Mind, and Editorial Discretion


I know it must seem like I use this blog (and my twitter account) to speak my mind — and I do. I pay GoDaddy for the right and privilege to own my domain and say whatever is on my mind.

Except that I don’t say everything that comes to mind. I am an adult. I have a filter.

You may laugh and question whether or not I really have discretion, but know this: if I didn’t have discretion, you wouldn’t be reading this blog. I would have been sued a very long time ago.

So I’d like to talk about editorial discretion and the rules about managing your social media profiles. Many of us make assumptions about ‘online personalities’ and the content we read. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to communicating via social media, but I think the world needs a reset on voice, tone, and intention. Here are my thoughts.

  1. I’ve said this 100 times and I will say it again: the internet isn’t real. Stop assuming that anyone is telling the truth. You want the blow-by-blow report of my life? Marry me. Otherwise you are stuck with a blog and a Twitter account that is edited in some capacity.
  2. Tell your own story. I am always the central character in my own drama. Plain and simple.
  3. Stop assuming that someone else is telling your story. Do you know the Carly Simon song? You’re so vain/I bet you think this blog is about you. Well it’s not. No blog is about you because no one cares what you’re doing. I’m sorry but you are not that interesting.
  4. Cast the first stone at your own peril. I am short and I have a Napoleonic complex. I like being angry with people for no reason. It’s fun to call out stupid behavior. I enjoy making fun of unsuspecting souls. Unfortunately, the least effective way to “cut a bitch” is through blogging and Twitter. Are you angry with someone? Annoyed? Do yourself a favor and keep that stuff offline. Way offline.
  5. Always take the blame and make fun of yourself. This isn’t Shogun. There is no pride in blogging and tweeting. I don’t mind being a martyr if it allows other people to save face. I am a storyteller and a teacher — and I am a realist. Your mistakes could be my mistakes and there but for the grace of God go I.
  6. You must earn the right to have an independent voice. I have been blogging in some capacity since 2004. I’ve built an audience that trusts me and understands my point-of-view. I am in a privileged position, I am very rarely misunderstood, and it didn’t happen overnight.

It’s not my goal in life to use my blog or Twitter stream to speak mediocre truth to mediocre power. I write and tweet because I have something to say — and it’s worth slowing down and applying editorial discretion at the best and worst of times.

Previous post:

Next post: