Tuesday, November 2, 2010
I know you think that is what I said.
Communications are at the best of times at cross purposes. Even when we are in the same room and we have inflection and body language to add to our understanding of the words we think we hear. Written words should be clearer because generally we have a wider vocabulary at our fingertips and the chance to reread and edit.
I worked as a free lance writer for small publications for a number of years and still submit an article or two. I found quickly that the first read through I am likely to read what I thought I wrote. So I generally let it settle a bit before coming back to it and giving it another once over. I am often shocked at my second take. That clearly was not what I intended to say and so I rephrase it.
But there are often those times when you come up against a deadline and don't have the grace of time on your side. I suppose that is what retractions are all about. But experienced writers generally hit the mark. If the upset a certain segment of their readership it is because they fully intended to do so but with plausible dependability: Surely you misunderstood what I wrote. I know you think that is what I meant but it isn't. Generally said to your editor.
Blogs don't have editors so thankfully there is edit and delete. Supposedly blog etiquette says you don't edit after publishing. But better than being hung, drawn and quartered I say. We all derail from time to time and miss an innuendo or two. Blogs are a responsibility. Facebook and Twitter are crap shoots. It is too easy to post something too fast and I have discovered it doesn't always delete from all windows.
But the worst part of the "my life in 140 characters on a key board" is the brevity. In a 1000 word essay you can upset your reader in paragraph two and calm them down in paragraph three. And by paragraph four make them understand the purpose of those leaps. But everyone, regardless of how benign their posts are, will piss off someone on Facebook from time to time. And in part because we have been too short, and in part because we aren't in on the conversations they have been having before we leaped in to comment.
But I have encountered those that seem to piss me off constantly - intentionally or otherwise. I try to be patient (not my longest suit) and understanding (sometimes too much so and others ask me why I am putting up with this behavior) and sometimes it is just easier to hide them.
Some years back when I was married I attended an adult child of alcoholics meeting that was badly run. Nobody stuck to the principles and a couple judges kept mandating attendance by felons that had no business there. I am home ranting one time too often and Marc asked me why I went. I replied that it made me feel better. He then informed me that his view was that it made me feel worse. I had to admit he had a point so when I was ranting to an earth friend today about another dumb comment by a certain FB friend something clicked. I came home and deleted her, and him and a couple others.
And when FB becomes un-fun I am deleting it just like I deleted Twitter.