I was listening to a recent Functional Nerds podcast (highly recommended) and one of the things they touched on was how we as artists/content creators need to “manage” our social media presence. All three participants agreed that for them it was necessary on some level to self censor. To the extent that I understood them, this means generally avoiding talking about things like politics and religion, or anything that would be offensive. John said that when he’s about to tweet a joke, for another example, he asks himself how likely is it that this will offend someone. Sometimes he tweets them anyway (Good on ya, John!). The exception, they agreed, would be someone whose brand is “I WANT TO OFFEND EVERYONE!”.
Listening to this came on the heels of talking to a dear friend who was afraid that what they were inclined to talk about (politics mainly, though also religion), if addressed in a way that was true to their beliefs, would offend potential audience members. They were concerned not only for themselves, but for a collaborative project they are involved in. Kudos to them for being concerned. My advice was something along the lines of “To thine own self be true” crossed with “Better safe than sorry”. That is, be yourself, but temper that with wisdom. The line is different for everyone I’m sure.
I have this side though. You’ve all seen it, or at least some of you have. It’s the one that screams “FUCK ‘EM IF THEY CAN’T TAKE A JOKE!”. It’s constantly at way with my more prudent side, who occasionally manages to slam the filters shut when my friend Jon tells a dreadful joke to me in chat and I’m tempted to share it. Still, it’s there and I’m tempted to let it fly more often than not, the older I get. Jokes aside, I’m not afraid to share my political beliefs (which frankly I have the advantage of them being the popular sort in the artistic community) or my religious ones (not as popular, as moderate as mine are). I find myself asking the question, should I be? The cat’s out of the bottle, so it’s likely a bit late to even be asking the question, but for those fledglings out there, how much should we “handle” ourselves in terms of our image as artists?
Sound off in the comments if ye be not afeared.