Freedom of speech?

I have two Twitter accounts – one is for my real/online life, the other (@johannanield) is to promote my books and to interract with other writers. I keep them separate, but I follow a few accounts on both profiles.

The other day, from my personal Twitter feed, I followed a link that was in a tweet posted by the maintainer of a highly respected website which supports and showcases unpublished authors. To say that I was unprepared for what I read there would be something of an understatement. I won’t go into detail here, but suffice it to say that I was so deeply offended by it that it took me nine hours to calm down enough to write a polite and considered response.

In the following twelve hours, half my initial response and two of my subsequent replies were deleted by the blogger, who eventually deleted the entire post. I can only assume that the author realised that there were far more comments (not just mine) in opposition to the views expressed than in support of them, and didn’t know how else to handle it.

My point in raising it here is that, if one wishes to share one’s opinions with the public via a public blog, and to further advertise it via an internationally subscribed Twitter feed under the name of a hugely popular website, then surely one should be prepared for some diversity in reaction to the views expressed. Why invite comments, if you’re not prepared to allow your readers to respond? Why air your views publicly, if you have no intention of accepting or respecting the views of your readers?

I almost stopped following the Twitter feed in question, and seriously considered withdrawing my involvement with the website and with its sister blog, but fortunately the personal blog in question is not linked directly via either of them. I feel, however, that it was a massive misjudgement on the part of the blogger to share the link to it via the website’s Twitter feed, and it saddens me that that has shaken my respect for and faith in that person’s professionalism.

What do you think?

16.12.10
I am shocked and saddened by this person’s decision to publicly rant at me today, for my comments on her blog yesterday. Once again she has shared the link to her personal blog via a Tweet under the name of the website she manages, which (in my opinion) is grossly unprofessional of her. She deleted my first response to this latest outburst, and will no doubt delete any further comments I may try to make to challenge her accusations against me, so I am going to turn the other cheek and walk away from the whole disturbing affair. I’m sure she will believe that she’s ‘won’ this particular exchange, and if she needs that kind of victory to make her feel good then I’m more than happy to let her think that way. I simply feel very sad that someone I’d believed to be mature, intelligent, professional, and open-minded has proved inexorably that she is not.

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About johannanield

Welsh author of a contemporary British romance trilogy
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