As the old saying goes, “Three things to never bring up at a dinner party: politics, religion, and money”. Well, quite frankly, most of us haven't been to a dinner party in over a year, the world is on fire, and we are on the precipice of the biggest social justice movement we will see in our lifetime. So, to HELL with that saying!
We all look back at pre-pandemic times with a certain nostalgia. How we moved about the world not that long ago seems so far gone, and the lens through which we saw the world and processed interactions have been forever changed.
With this understanding, it's only obvious that we cannot continue to project and protect our “professional” images in the way we once did. In fact, people are craving and seeking out professionals and businesses with solid convictions now more than ever. More than ever before, people are willing to click “follow” and support products and services that have clear ethical practices and are eager to support vulnerable and marginalized groups.
Over the years, business "gurus" and coaches have always advised us to remain neutral at all costs. We wouldn't want to alienate potential customers or give them a reason not to do business with us! Even Forbes has said, “it’s important to avoid bringing up anything that may give the person you’re speaking to a reason to pause and reconsider working with you”.
Influencers often attempt to keep their accounts rid of anything controversial. And at one point, this was best practice. After all, you're a travel blogger, not a news outlet, keep it light, right?
In reading the Forbes article, it struck me that online business owners and influencers are ALREADY talking about the most taboo topics we should “avoid at all costs”. In fact, many have built their brand on them. They describe these taboo topics as:
Oh, you mean like the women all over the world who have found comfort with mommy bloggers “keeping it real” talking about the struggles of parenting, marriage woes, and their sex lives?
This would encompass the millions of brave men and women who have struggled with mental illness or other disorders, supporting others with coping mechanisms, inspiration, and strategies for those who may be facing the same issues.
Financial service businesses have built their platforms on uncomfortable and personal money conversations like income, debt, and budgeting.
We even have faith leaders from all religions able to reach and preach to their audiences online.
So, WHY are we stopping there? Who drew this invisible line saying that politics and race are still off the table? What does that say about our country? How is it that we all accept and support people who speak with conviction on all the other taboo topics, but we are still being told to avoid the polarizing topics of race and religion?
The online world is a different place in 2021.
You would be hard-pressed to have a conversation about literally anything without the context of everything going on. COVID and social distancing changed what even the most mundane things looked like in our daily lives. The racial justice movement is sweeping through every state in the country. Hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens have been out of work and are struggling to pay their rent.
The era of influencers and businesses with a platform being apolitical online is over
Should you choose to deny reality and perpetuate and post usual content without acknowledging the realities of what your customers are dealing with, you are simply being insensitive and are out of touch. Staying neutral in these times and not giving yourself a voice will effectively render anything else you have to say irrelevant. Burying your head in the sand and pretending these issues don’t matter, just because they don’t affect you directly, will leave your customers wondering where you stand and wondering why they should support you when you aren’t willing to support them.
Speaking out, whether or not it is perfectly worded, is always better than saying nothing at all. Ready to start your allyship journey but not sure how? Open enrollment to my 6 week program has now begun! Click here to join entrepreneurs who just like you, had the fear of not knowing what do or say to create braver businesses to start your own Allyship journey. I can't wait to see you on the inside.