Last week was a weird week for me on social media. Here are some highlights.
Someone called me names because they read what they wanted to see instead of what I wrote and assumed I was making a joke about people with disabilities. I didn’t, I was pointing out that making jokes about people with Tourette’s disorder is no more acceptable than a joke about someone with Down Syndrome or Cerebral Palsy. Ironically, the person who said this about me expressed that they found the joke about people with Tourette’s funny. In the end, the person who posted the Tourette’s joke (a Priest) blocked me, and the person who called me names was the one laughing at jokes about people with disabilities. Go figure.
Secondly, I was rebuked for using a picture of a Senator and discussing some of his recent bad behaviors. Apparently a sitting Senator is off-limits in a featured image for a post. Well, a Democrat one anyway. Ironically, the article wasn’t about politics, but was about what happens to society when we don’t educate ourselves or question things, and simply reinforce what we want to believe. The person who “rebuked” me didn’t bother to read the article or they wouldn’t have called me partisan, and their comment demonstrated everything I was talking about.
So this week, in honour of these people, I am going to have a featured picture of a politician with an unrelated quote, and none of it will have anything to do with the content of the article, and I won’t talk about politics at all. What we will talk about is how to avoid making assumptions or being part of a miscommunication that makes us look like a numpty.
We’ve all done it from time to time – Someone says something (or posts something) and it is completely misunderstood, and in fairness, I do believe the majority of the responsibility is on the part of the person sending the message. Imagine if we all lived in the world advocated by this tweet:
Really? So I can be as vague as I want and you’re responsible if I don’t communicate clearly? I hope the military never take up this policy.
“Why did you blow up Colombia?”
“You said ‘Nuke the coffee…'”
“Yeah, not quite what I meant.”
It’s a two-way street. In truth, I could have been clearer about my position in the first example I gave above. The context made it very clear, but as a standalone post it didn’t clearly express my thoughts. As for the second example, that’s the other part of communication, there is a responsibility to be sure we understand what is being said. If you’re going to get upset at one of my posts, at least read it first.
Here are the three takeaways for today:
1 – Communication is a two-way street. We need to ensure we are being as clear as possible with our message.
2 – Equally, we all have hot-buttons. Before we engage in a conflict of any kind, we need to make sure we know the battle we are fighting, especially on social media.
3 – Context is everything. Does what you see fit with everything else in the scenario? This is a bit of a follow-on from last week – Investigate and learn!
It’s difficult to know what is real and what is not in our world today. With a constant stream of information, bias, fake news, opinion dressed as fact, and outright lies, it is hard to know whether what we are reading is real or not. However, remember these three things – Not everything you want to believe is true. If you are going to comment, make sure you read the story. If you are going to forward something, make sure it is accurate.