Writers, Does Openly Expressing Your Politics Really Risk Your Readership?

Dwayne Johnson recently set a new record for social media followers. He is not a writer, but we can learn from his example.

Joel Eisenberg
Oct 13, 2020 · 5 min read
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A friend of mine, an actress most of you know, left Facebook about two years ago as it was getting “too ugly,” she said, “with politics.” She warned me about losing control, as on Facebook I hadn’t been at all shy about my own political leanings and she was sincerely worried for my safety. She suggested to me on the phone one evening, amidst a heated discussion, I was a step away from becoming a “loose cannon.” I thanked her for her concern, which she reiterated was genuine and based on love. I believed her then as now.

When I subsequently carried over my rants on Twitter to a lesser degree, she blocked me. I had seen her in-person on one occasion since and she explained she risked her own career if she publicly sided with me and came out as anti-Donald Trump.

We haven’t spoken since … which brings me to Dwayne Johnson’s recent political coming out party.

Johnson, The Rock to old school professional wrestling fans, had more to lose than anybody. While I do not believe anyone here — myself included — would mourn the loss if the inordinately wealthy Johnson sacrificed a percentage of his followers based on a personal stamp of approval, nonetheless he issued his first public political endorsement to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on September 27, 2020.

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Immediately thereafter, social media was aflame. Seconds following the endorsement, Trump supporters let their dissatisfaction be known.

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Johnson, taking note, stood his ground. In a follow-up Twitter post, he encouraged his fans to speak their truths.

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Perhaps predictably, Johnson received more than his share of support, and also notes from those who disagreed with him politically and yet stood by his right to a personal opinion. We’ll leave those be for now.

On a small scale, this was what mattered:

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Why did the increased cost of this rookie football card mean anything at all? Because it was a sign. It showed on the surface the subject made a difference in speaking his truth.

This, though, was the more important takeaway:

At the end of the day, Dwayne Johnson’s publicly taking a side certainly didn’t appear to have hurt him any …

Johnson is a global superstar. Granted. He is presently the highest-earning actor in the world. If he lost 50% of his followers, it would hardly make a difference.

Well, he didn’t lose 50% of his followers. Despite the outcry, he gained substantially more once he made known his preferences.

There’s a valuable lesson there.

As we are all writers with an iota of Dwayne Johnson’s cumulative social media following — only J.K. Rowling comes close on any particular platform (Twitter) — what if we were to lose that same percentage of followers?

Let’s explore.

If any one of us lost 50% of our cumulative social media following … so what? Do you not believe you will attract any other connections?

Ever?

If that’s the case, you may want to work on your confidence.

Again, comparing our relatively scant social media platforms — that serves as a lifeline to many of us for marketing our writing — to one of the largest platforms in the world is folly, but we can certainly learn from the future WWE Hall of Famer about the value of being one’s genuine self.

A message that’s worth it’s weight in gold if you implement it.

So what in the blue hell are you waiting for? (To those who get the entirely intentional reference, I couldn’t resist.)

Thank you for reading.

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Joel Eisenberg

Written by

Joel Eisenberg is an award-winning author, screenwriter, and producer. The Oscar in the profile pic isn’t his but he’s scheming. WGA and Pen America member.

Writing For Your Life

Honest, practical advice on the writer’s life for both aspiring and experienced authors and screenwriters, and an uncensored forum for provocative thought.

Joel Eisenberg

Written by

Joel Eisenberg is an award-winning author, screenwriter, and producer. The Oscar in the profile pic isn’t his but he’s scheming. WGA and Pen America member.

Writing For Your Life

Honest, practical advice on the writer’s life for both aspiring and experienced authors and screenwriters, and an uncensored forum for provocative thought.

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