Sunday, October 3, 2010

One Click Away from Hell

There are those virtual advisers who remind you that what you post on the Internet is there for eternity.  I believe they’re right, as I can Google things that happened years ago and still find everything about the instance intact and ready to be reviewed by new audiences.

Did you ever stop and think that you are just one click away from cementing your foot inside your mouth?  Lately, I’ve seen a rash of apologies from posters who didn’t realize they were emailing an entire loop, or had clicked on the wrong message to respond.  I’ve been a victim and an offender, so I speak with authority.
Imagine you believe you’re having a conversation with a friend about another person who drives you insane. You detail that person’s annoying traits, and add some other not-so-kind remarks because you’re venting.  Your email program, in technologies great strides to assist you, picks up on the first three letters of the email address you type in and completes it for you. Unfortunately, you don’t realize what should have gone to Janet has gone to someone you don’t really know.  Who the heck is  You’ll find out when she emails you back and asks why you’ve included her in such a personal conversation about someone she doesn’t know?   With heated cheeks you apologize and consider the subject closed, but what if she decides to share you email with her friends, and their friends.  Get my drift?

You can disable the tool on email that automatically fills in the address for you, but better yet, stop and read where the post is going.  Like I tell my husband when he’s driving and coasts through stop signs…”You need to count to three before you proceed.”  If you follow the same advice before clicking the send button, you’re bound to avoid problems you aren’t prepared to face.

Something I’ve made a habit:  When I feel the need to rant, I draft an email and let it sit overnight.  When I read it in the morning, usually my ire has faded, and I no longer feel the need to be so out-spoken.  It’s amazing how time can lower your blood pressure and your tolerance threshold.  What you say in an email can’t be taken back.  There is no “retrieve” button or “do-overs.”

Benefit of the doubt goes a long way in avoiding public confrontations.  If someone says something that you consider insulting, rather than chastise the person publicly, email them privately and share your concerns.  I learned a long time ago that the only person you need to confront about a problem is the person with whom you have the problem.  Make sense?

And, last but not least.  This to my friends on digest:  If you are viewing a post from several days ago that addresses an annoying issue, before you respond, read all the messages and you’ll likely find everything has been resolved.  Don’t raise a dead horse and beat it all over again.  That can of worms doesn’t need opening, the cat doesn’t need to be let out of the bag again, and I’ve run out of clichés but I think you understand.

Caution and good sense go a long way in keeping you and your professional reputation safe.  Stop, look, then click.  That’s my new motto. 


Latesha said...

Sounds like good advice, Miss Ginger. Here's hoping you have a good day.

Diane M. Wylie said...

You are absolutely right, Ginger. You have posted some very sound advice, whether you are communicating for business or pleasure, it is always best to watch your words. I like to follow the advice I learned as a kid from Walt Disney's movie, Bambi. Like Thumper the rabbit said, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Too often people post things on Facebook that are far too personal for the world to see. I'm amazed sometimes by what I read.

Maggi Andersen said...

This just causes me more pain Ginger, reminding me of all the times I've had foot in mouth. Which apparently can come back to bite me again and again and again!

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Ginger,
Very wise advice. The trouble is our wayward fingers. We are too quick to press the send button.



Unknown said...

Always good advice to stop and look. I'm with Marilyn, I'm surprised at the nonsense and personal info I see on Facebook. Seems there are no ground rules anymore. I feel, and this is very old fashioned, if you need to vent, use the telephone. Then you are sure you are talking to the right person. lol, then if it gets repeated you have plausable deniability, it's not in writing. lol.
Okay, I'll behave.

Sara Durham Writer ~ Author said...

Ginger, what a great reminder for all of us. I was actually the recipient of someone's rant on a blog (when I was new to writing) and I was mortified. But... I put my big girl panties on, and emailed the person. She was very apologetic and we are now cyber writing friends. Your right, it is almost always best to go directly to the source.


Lisabet Sarai said...

Hi, Ginger,

I blogged on a similar topic a few weeks ago - my post was called "Glass Houses".

It pays to remember that Internet is a very public place. And I've also had the problem with address completion. It can occasionally be VERY embarrassing.


Charlie said...

Right on. I think most people have been on one side of the fence or the other...or both, just as you have. Thanks for making us think about it though, reminding us to think twice before we hit that send key.

C.K. Volnek

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