Think B4 U Txt

Her virtue was that she said what she thought,

her vice that what she thought didn’t amount to much.

– Peter Ustinov

OMG He Sed Whut??????

Lots of stuff in the blogonewsotweetobookosphere about people with poor impulse control, sayin’ things and later regretting them. This running theme is neatly summed up by a Salon article,  Decorum is dead! Long live the outburst!   In that article, writer Mary Elizabeth Williams eulogizes the death of “the unexpressed thought,” which she notes is now extinct thanks to Twitter.  The unexpressed thought — the thing we might want to check and reconsider before blurting out–  is ” survived by the now defunct profession of mind reading, and the penny, which is no longer valid in exchange for anything in anybody’s head.”

It Didn’t Use To Be This Way  (said Grandpa)

Back in the good old days of meatspace, if you were at an event such as a cocktail party and someone put their foot in their mouth, it was usually forgiven and forgotten quickly.  When a person slips up — when they let some darker part of their personality momentarily manifest and distort the way they perceive others and interact with them — it’s easy for the rest of us to let it slide.  We’ve all had our own weak moments.

But online, the record is quasi-permanent, and when it comes to people who put themselves “out there” as products, the spectators (consumers?) are often less charitable.

In Never Eat Alone, Keith Ferrazzi starts his book by telling the reader to go see a therapist before starting his  prescribed high-powered networking regimen.  The idea is that if we’re going to put ourselves “out there” on display, we should at least get our internal house in order.  This applies doubly so for online networking, where all of our careless insults, snubs, moments of envy or insecurity, episodes of delusional paranoid narcissism fueled by an unspecified attachment disorder (or something like that) — all of these and more — will live on for posterity, just one convenient email thread or hashtag search away. These temporary, unfortunate mistakes will eclipse something far more important, which is what can we do to contribute?  How can we actually help the people we’re interacting with?   

See, it’s unrealistic to get your “internal house” entirely in order before networking with anyone.  But you can minimize embarassment by getting some external focus and asking yourself,What is it that I can or should do for this person, and what is the best way for me to do it? “

Another famous quip from Peter Ustinov sums it up nicely: 

 “It is our responsibilities, not ourselves, that we should take seriously.”


About danspira

My blog is at: My face in real life appears at a higher resolution, although I do feel pixelated sometimes.

Posted on September 17, 2009, in Blogging, Communication Skills, Networking, Social Media. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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