FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE – DAILY PROMPT WAS DOWN. AGAIN.

Today’s Daily Post in a Nutshell: Locked and Sealed, is locked and sealed. And — how ironic — was hit with the old “where did it go” bug. But, it’s back up. Sing hallelujah. Till the next time.


Can you keep a secret?

Yes.

Have you ever — intentionally or not — spilled the beans when you should have stayed mum?

Not that I can recall.

Note: Your secret is probably safe with me because I will forget it almost as soon as you tell me.


Well, I’m glad that’s out of the way because I wanted to talk about communicating on the Internet and how ridiculously easy it is to misunderstand each other.

FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE, BOSS

This is the big problem with electronic communication. I suppose it’s a problem with any communication that isn’t face-to-face. People probably misunderstood each other’s handwritten letters too.

😀 I believe the 🙂 was invented entirely to convey that what you wrote was not meant negatively 😦

I use emoticons liberally, though they are considered bad English (they aren’t English) and childish. Children are good at conveying feelings, so I’m not averse to being childish if it improves communications a little.

communication-intimacy-10-levels

I tend to be brusque. Short. I try to be witty, but it doesn’t always come across that way. My attempts to be “cute” can easily be misread as snide, snippy, and dismissive. So:

1) If I’m being snide, snippy, or dismissive, you’ll know it. I’m not that subtle. Really.

2) My wrists hurt. My typing is getting worse. Of the emerging issues caused by pain in wrists, the most malignant are missing words. Not misspelled or otherwise mangled. Words that aren’t there at all. Particularly unfortunate when the missing word is “not” — exactly reversing the meaning of a thought yet appearing grammatical.

SOLUTIONS?

Lacking fonts that clearly express sarcasm or irony — both of which are better expressed by tone of voice, body language, and facial expression — maybe we (me) should consider alternate forms. This is difficult since I have always tended to be sarcastic. (I used to be worse, but I’m in recovery.) That kind of wit (?) doesn’t translate well in text. Not yet, anyhow and until it does, I’m considering humor less likely to be misread.

The second solution isn’t a solution, but might help. Before you decide you’ve been insulted, dismissed, treated with scorn, etc., check with the comment’s originator. Make sure what you know is what was meant. That it wasn’t a complex typo, or a failed joke.

PARANOIA

It’s easy to read everything as a form of criticism. I’ve seen people slide into this by degrees until they successfully misinterpret everything. You need some toughness to live in the virtual world. You also need patience, in the sense of not jumping to conclusions. Finally, you have to remember you are not the center of everyone’s world.

One of my many problems with the whiners, complainers, oh woe is me-ers is they have sunk so deep into their own “issues,” they forget other people have lives. People can be brusque — dismissive — and it hasn’t got anything to do with you. They are responding to something going on in their world to which you are not privy.

Usually, you will never know what is or was going on unless they choose to tell you. Because many of us like to keep our private things private. I deal with intimate issues intimately, face-to-face. Or telephone-to-telephone. Not on my blog.

PRIVACY IS A GOOD THING

Which brings me to the final point.

Bloggers can easily contact each other privately. If you have a bone to pick with someone — or think you do — try email. Directly. To the individual. Even if your position is righteous and your cause is just, public isn’t the best place to resolve a dispute.

Why not? Because it invites strangers to jump in — which won’t help anyone fix anything. Because once you’ve publicly insulted someone or hurt their feelings, they may be disinclined to forgive you. Ever.

And finally, because squabbling about personal stuff online is tacky. Totally teenage, very Facebook, and not classy at all.



Categories: Blogging

Tags: , , , , , , ,

49 replies

  1. Waaaaay back in the prehistoric days of my message board I inhabit (I’m talking the year 2000 here), one of our members “invented” a way for us to make it clear that something we were saying was intended to be sarcastic and taken as tongue-in-cheek… by putting such replies in bold and italics, we now had Sarcafont to help convey ourselves a little better anyway! Much better than the old typed out smilies that looked even stupider than the current drawn out ones…

    Like

    • I tried that — but it just looked like I was saying whatever it was LOUDER AND MORE FORCEFULLY, so I gave up. And of course, we don’t even have those limited options in a comment. HEY, how to you do that in a comment? You obviously aren’t writing in WordPress’s comment box which allows nothing except plain text. You must — gasp — be answering in email! I used to do that, when I got comments in email. I don’t get comments in email anymore. WordPress stopped sending them. Apparently I’m on their “do not email” list. Hmm.

      Like

      • Nope, not by email! I’m merely doing it old school by using the html tags for bold and italics that go in between those little less than and greater than signs. It’s hard to show how to make them, since properly made tags will disappear like they’re supposed to, but let’s see if it works…

        and (without any spaces) bookending anything you want italicized, and substitute “b” for anything you want bolded….

        Like

  2. You spoke to me plenty clearly, Marilyn! Well timed, too, this post. I have an acquaintance who recently included me in a group message that effectively said that anyone who didn’t have the same interpretation of faith, politics and science as hers was not only wrong (and, presumably, stupid or wicked in order to be so stubbornly, deliberately wrong) but also was actively threatening and attacking *her* for her faith, politics, and scientific views.

    I happen to fit pretty neatly into the category of the Wrong in this instance, and was foolish enough to try to gently tell her so and ask her if she couldn’t believe I had no less careful and thoughtful reasons for my point of view and that I had no reason to wish her ill as a result. I don’t even have to tell you what a—yes—*stupid* move that was on my part. I should have simply hit Delete on her note and let her remain ignorant of my differing point of view, because in retrospect, I already knew that not only was that letter not an invitation to conversation, it was a perfectly clear statement that *any* views not exactly in sync with hers would be as threatening to her as if I’d fired a shot across her bow. Just when I think I’ve learned not to Poke the Bear. Sigh. The only logical thing to do to follow up was to apologize for offending her and just shut up about the rest. Why would I think a person who already firmly believes she is under constant attack wouldn’t see any response to her pronouncements as further evidence of that? Guess I’m still farther from the shores of wisdom than my education has tried to send me!

    I don’t know the emoticon for it, so I’ll just say: Sighhhhhh….

    😉
    Cheers to you for your perspicacity and crisp communication.
    Kathryn

    Like

    • I have been bitten in this kind of interchange SO often that I think I have finally learned my lesson. The paranoid, the self-absorbed, the self-righteous, the deluded — all fellow citizens of our cyber nation — don’t want to be confused by facts or anything contradict their opinions. Their minds are made up. I simply detach and move on. Once people get that far over the line, there’s no reasoning with them. All it does is get you deeper into the quicksand.

      Like

  3. I’ve often written something quite benign-sounding in an email, read it through before sending and thought “oh hell, no!, that’s not what I meant at all!”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree, I hate to make a public comment that can be controversial and prefer to contact a person in private before making a hasty comment. Things can easily be mis-interpreted by wording, incomplete thoughts or just plane mis-communication.

    Like

  5. I really liked this post Marilyn. I think another thing about the virtual world is that everything is instant. If an email/tweet/post annoys you it’s too easy to respond with something nasty right away and regret it later.
    I like smiley’s too but have a terrible time trying to understand text speak or messages typed by people using phones. Sometimes I’ve had to message back and say “I have no idea what you are talking about.”

    Like

    • Given the bad audio on cell phones, I find myself saying “WHAT?? Hello? ARE YOU THERE?” into the phone. It’s why I gave up on cell phones.

      I have taken to allowing emails sit in my inbox for days — sometimes a week or more — deciding how/if to answer them. I make bad decisions when my temper flares. It’s also why I schedule posts for at least a couple of days ahead. Sometimes, I change my mind about posting a particular piece at all … or I rewrite it five times!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post! Although I find that sarcasm travels well online… It gets an edge of catiness to it but I’m okay with that! Cattyness ( better spelling?) is terribly underappreciated today…

    Like

  7. I have a very bad habit of using the smiley emoticon. It is as though I am dependent upon it ending my comments. But, it is an honest reflection of my personality and a way of conveying my attitude in the event my words failed. 😀

    Loved this post!

    Like

    • Thank you 🙂 I don’t think it’s such a bad habit. It serves a purpose. I use to express mood without using a lot of words, usually in a comment. I don’t use them in posts, but when I’m trying to convey a lot with few words? Why not?

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Reblogged this on CCEO Corporation of America and commented:
    A genius Person made this post and oh halleula

    Like

  9. Thank you so much for writing this post.
    Thank you so, so much.
    Followed. Liked to the power of 5.I may even reblog this.
    Thank you.

    Like

  10. OK, I don’t know HOW to email other bloggers. I’d appreciate a lesson!

    Like

  11. Here you go for added tedium to your day! http://marthakennedy.wordpress.com/2014/09/07/bad-prompt/

    Like

  12. Excellent. Twitter is a classic example of much of what you talk about. It’s got more people in trouble than any other ‘social media’. I hope I never have cause to employ it.
    You might wanna see this movie I just watched called Chef. Has some interesting stuff about some of this.
    Pretty good movie too.

    Like

  13. Ya think, Probie?

    Like

  14. I rarely use emoticons anywhere. Who wants to communicate. I was going to communicate with Mr. Swiss but he has fallen asleep in the deck chair on the porch so let’s forget it.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I also have a tendency to overuse emoticons, especially in phone texting. There is so much nuance that doesn’t come through and I always worry the receiver is going to take something the wrong way.

    Like

  16. “People can be brusque — dismissive — and it hasn’t got anything to do with you.” Wait! What? You mean it’s not all about me? Seriously?

    Like

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