I have a ton of interests and would like to write on every topic, from sports to politics to Star Wars to our household dog. It might be better to just focus on one topic (like Daring Fireball for instance), but that seems boring and constricting.
No one is going to confuse me with an expert, but I like to know a little about a lot of things. I also think everyone is entitled to their informed opinion (like with facts and stuff). Do you get upset when Ted Nugent says horrific things about Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton? What about when Leonardo DiCaprio talks about climate change? How about when the President complains about LeBron James on Twitter? Do you roll your eyes and think what do they know? These are “known people” and they get attacked for their positions and told to “stick to music/acting/sports/etc.”
Paul Jarvis argues that if you are on the internet publicly sharing, you are a “known person.” His definition of a “known person” is “…a person who publicly shares their knowledge, experience, and personality in articles, videos, social, etc. Big audience, small audience, it doesn’t matter. If you’re sharing, someone knows something about you and you are a known person.”
This idea has stuck with me. I don’t want to lose jobs or friends because of something I post on the internet, but we hear horror/righteous stories all the time. I have to think before I post anything because I’m a “known person” and what I say can affect my family, friends and livelihood.
Jarvis keenly understands this in his blog post. He features nine points that he’s noticed about known persons. This paragraph blew me away:
Known people can’t make mistakes, even small ones like typos, without being blasted for it. I received 100s of emails from people saying they don’t trust my writing because I made a spelling mistake or that I can’t be the expert I apparently said I was because an email of mine from years ago has a URL in it that’s now malfunctioning.
He goes on to say everyone has jobs to do, sometimes in a public arena or privately:
The point is that unless we’re independently wealthy (note: I’m not rich like me), we all have jobs to do. Some jobs can be done in private, where we get paid to do something that other folks don’t notice because there’s no need for them to. Some jobs require the work to be done in public, in order to pay enough to make a living and be sustainable long term.
I don’t have to write publicly. I like doing it though and if it means I have to be more careful in my online interactions and social media, so be it.