Imagine if you will, posting a humor piece that is poorly received. So poorly received in fact that one woman actually posts something along the lines of calling you “an overstuffed pig who plays with puppets and can’t keep a day job.” How eager will you be in responding? Will you be nice enough to say “Give me three days to think about my response and I’ll get back to you?”
My head line should read “Smart man meets stupid redhead with a hot temper and behaves much better than she does.” I’ll be lucky if I hear from him in the next century much less in three days.
For better or for worse, the world wide web makes everything more readily accessible than ever before. That applies to great things, and not so great things. The web makes it easy for all of us to sit behind a screen and communicate things to a computer forgetting we’re talking to a person.
Every day I read words that I know the person would not use face to face. Some days I respond with words I’d never use in person. Some days I’m brutally harsh. The downside with writing, is tone cannot be conveyed. It takes a very talented writer to properly convey humor. And it takes self restraint to not ask the person where their head was when they wrote that story when the humor fails to be conveyed. While my self restraint is improving, I still have a lot of work to do. As is the case with a very talented comic whom I called a stuffed pig yesterday. He wrote (what I hope) is a humor piece only I didn’t get it.
I didn’t see the humor. I saw (read) a very degrading post against women – and it lit a fire in me that ensured 1 – he’ll never hire me to open for him and 2. I was not so sure I wanted to ever buy tickets to his show anymore. I should have sat on my “instinct” and said nothing. Really.
I allowed my emotions to rule my actions – I’m usually better than that. I should have read it, remembered the guidelines for commenting (keep your comments productive or move on) and either moved on or simply stated “Wow, I don’t get this, would you please expound?” Turns out it was a humor piece – but not having a personal relationship with said comic – I did not know that. I should not have called him anything. That not the way to communicate “I don’t understand this.” Chances are, he’ll never speak to me again – and I deserve that.
In today’s world we can blog, twitter, digg, and stumble our way to fame (for better and for worse) and mediocrity in a heart beat. There is no such thing as a “private” email, e-zine, or blog post. We forget that as writers. Sometimes, self indulgent creatures that we are, we forget that while *I* know what I meant by this or that post, my reader may not. I need to choose my words carefully.
There are wonderful writers out there – and I do not pretend to be one of them. There are great blogs to read and to learn from – most of them are on my blog roll.
My whole point here is I forgot I was responding to a person – and that is never cool
Blogs and social networking are about relationships and two way communication. And with the “safety” of a computer screen, we sometimes write blogs we’d never speak out loud and sometimes we comment or email responses using words we’d (hopefully) never say otherwise.
Has that ever happened to you?