Social Media vs. Spoken Words
What I wrote may not be what you heard!
By: Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, May 27, 2020
Have you considered the difference and lingering effects between words written on Social Media platforms or in a book or document such as this one, as compared to words that are spoken? There is a huge difference; like the difference between 2D movies and 3D movies. 3D movies have more depth and are usually more enjoyable. Social Media by comparison are simply words that appear on a screen absent any inflections, emphasis, or pauses; they are just words (2D). When engaged in conversations, people are able to put emphasis on certain words by speaking louder or softer, or even inserting a pause….for effect (3D). Such emphasis can change the meaning of what was said. Writers, other than on Social Media, can do some of the same things by inserting…to reflect a pause, or EMBOLDEN and or UNDERLINE letters to emphasize a word or words as compared to the rest of the sentence; almost 3D but not quite.
As an example, let’s consider this one short sentence. It is an ugly sentence but it was the one that was used to teach the principle to me so many decades ago.
The actual intended meaning of the sentence greatly depends upon which word or words you place your emphasis. To illustrate this, I will EMBOLDEN just a word(s) to change the actual meaning of the sentence.
- I…did not say I beat my wife today. I didn’t say it, someone else must have said it.
- I did not…say I beat my wife today. Just didn’t say it!
- I did not say…I beat my wife today. I may have thought about it but I didn’t actually say it.
- I did not say I…beat my wife today. This is my favorite; I did not say I beat my wife but that doesn’t mean someone else didn’t beat her.
- I did not say I beat…my wife today. This is all about definitions. What do you mean when you say “beat?” I may have roughed her up a bit but I certainly didn’t beat her!
- I did not say I beat my…wife today. Definitely NOT my wife but you ought to see the neighbor’s wife.
- I did not say I beat my wife…today. It wasn’t my wife that I beat but you ought to see my kids.
- I did not say I beat my wife today. It wasn’t today, but yesterday is another story.
Think about some of the posts on Social Media you may have read or even posted. Is it possible that the reader understands a meaning you did not intend?
- Read what you post on line before you actually post it. I would even suggest reading it twice for both spelling and grammar.
- If you are posting from your smart phone, the chances of spell check inserting the wrong word seem to be enhanced. You can also make mistakes simply by hitting the wrong letters on your very small keyboard and the misspellings remain or spell check takes over and inserts a word it thinks is the one you wanted to include.
- BEFORE you respond to a post make certain you understand what the sender intended. If you don’t, take the time to ask what was meant by the post.
- You read a post about today being “hump day” but you know it is Thursday, not Wednesday. This is an obvious example but some posts are not so obvious as to when they were initially posted. Before you draft a response that you may be pointing out something that happened AFTER the initial post, check the time the initial post was made. Doesn’t happen all that often but it is worth checking.
- PC Police are abundant on Social Media and they will dissect your posts to insure you haven’t offended someone. Keep in mind that your mother was right! Sticks and stones will break your bones but words will never hurt you. What your mother and my mother left off was, words will never hurt you unless you allow them to. Read your post BEFORE you post it to make certain that you are not unintentionally offending someone. Even so, there are times when you just have to say what needs to be said, I understand that.
- Don’t use language in your posts that you wouldn’t use in front of your children or someone else’s children. For a great many people, they have begun using the common “four-letter” words with regularity. In the minds of many, such posts oftentimes lowers the IQ and/or opinion of the person making the post. When that occurs, the sender loses a great deal of credibility and may even be blocked by the recipient. Simple question, would you want your own children to read what you have posted?
- If you are member of a group(s), FOLLOW THE RULES of the group(s). One such rule for most groups is that there are to be NO political posts. Don’t break the rules.
- If you post a statement that is based upon facts, a news release, or a specific Internet site or report, reference your material. Let the reader know from where the apparent facts of your post came from and that enables the reader to read what you read to verify what you have posted. If that is your intention, that is a good thing.
- If you wouldn’t say something to a person’s face, you may want to think twice about posting something because you have the perceived safety of doing so on your computer/smart phone screen.
- Say what you mean, mean what you say! Always a good rule to follow.
- Stop with the never ending, “if you don’t forward this something horrible will happen….” messages! If someone believes it should be forwarded, they will forward it. Please stop!
- Avoid becoming a Social Media PC “nut job!” Funny, you the reader may think that is what I just did by writing this Nugget but that was never my intention.