Imagine you are a software developer, a writer, or an artist. You have something to sell. You walk into a boardroom, a party, or a social gathering where people are interested in what you’ve got to say about your product. Chit-chat is encouraged, people are making small talk. You talk about yourself and talk up your product a bit. You want these people to take an interest in you and your product.
You wouldn’t, if you have any sense at all, start mouthing off about the scumbag Democrats who are forcing their socialist agendas on “us” hard-working Americans. You wouldn’t go on about how Obama is stealing our money, is going to throw people in jail for not buying government health care, and wants to control every aspect of our lives. You wouldn’t go on about how the only people exercising a government health care option would be lazy freeloaders, just like those on welfare and imply that we should be burning flags as a form of protest. You wouldn’t, if you had a brain in your head, jeopardize the success of your product and your business over your inability to keep your mouth shut about politics in a room full of people who are not there to discuss politics.
So why the hell would you do it on Twitter?
I followed someone, until this morning, because I wanted to hear about his software development. I liked reading what he wrote about his life and times. What I don’t like reading is hatred and venom (and it was pure hatred, thick and rich) directed toward people like me, people who believe that while government may not be perfect, helping those less fortunate is a virtue. Say what you like about health care reform, but there is a time and a place for everything, and while you may think that everyone who follows you wants to hear your rants, you’re wrong.
Look, believe whatever you want. Say whatever you want. I’m not suggesting that people should censor themselves if they want to use Twitter as a soapbox. Just make sure you understand the consequences. You’ll lose followers, and maybe because I’m not getting updates about your software anymore I’ll end up using a competitor’s product. When the vast majority of your followers are only doing so because of the software you’ve written, understand that when you piss them off, they’re going to leave.
Worse than that though? I’m an affiliate for this particular product. Piss me off, and maybe I’ll start promoting your competitors (and there are a lot to choose from). You still want to bitch about health care on Twitter? Even if it costs you sales? Are you sure mixing business and personal is the best route to take?