Think Before You Speak: Online Edition

It’s something we are told as kids, to think about the consequences of your actions. Unfortunately, many people seem to be forgetting that, especially when it comes to voicing opinions on social media or blogs.

Case in point: Last week I talked about Lynn Sheperd’s piece about J.K. Rowling. (In case you missed it, she basically told Rowling to stop writing to give unknown authors a chance). Well, now she is feeling the backlash of those words.

According to a Guardian article, Sheperd has received an influx of one-star ratings on her books, just as a result of her words. Now, I strongly disagree with what she wrote, but I think this is rather harsh. In her article she mentions how she never read any of Rowling’s work, and many are leaving these horrible reviews stating they have never read any of Sheperd’s work. While this is giving her a “taste of her own medicine” to some degree, these reviewers are being hypocritical.

I think Sheperd knew to some degree that there was going to be upset readers as she states in the first lines of her article

When I told a friend the title of this piece she looked at me in horror and said, “You can’t say that, everyone will just put it down to sour grapes!” And she does, of course, have a point.

However, I think it is clear she never expected a huge destruction of her own published works. There was no way she would have written such an article if she thought people would be giving her books such negative reviews as a result.

So take Sheperd’s mistake and use it in your own life. If you are going to be writing something controversial, keep in mind what negative (or positive) consequences may follow. Tweeting something and then deleting it can only be useful if  no one has retweeted it or taken a screenshot of it. So keep in mind that for the most part, once something is out there in the internet world, it’s out there for good.

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