Yesterday I almost sent out a press release with a horrendous sentence in it that would have made nuns weep. Are you ready for this?
“Actor NAME will be dramatizing the birth of Jesus.”
I wrote the release late one night, sent it to someone else, edited it the next day with that person’s feedback, and then I opened it the following day to give it one last read-through.
Then I caught it.
Two sets of eyes reading through the release a total of four times before catching that whopper of a sentence. And that got me thinking, are there any other forms of communication where we need to exercise extra caution with the words we use?
If there’s one medium that welcomes, nay begs, for gaffs and awkward statements, it has to be Twitter. Designed for quick, instantaneous communication, Twitter allows us to share anything we’re thinking with thousands of people with a tap of the finger.
The possibility of saying something so stupid, so quickly to so many takes my breath away.
I worry about having moments like Michael Scott (a la The Office) where I’ll mean one thing and inadvertently say something offensive or rude when the words leave my lips. That’s why I fear on Twitter.
While I may have deleted a few tweets in my day, more often than not I simply abstain from tweeting anything that could possibly be misconstrued. In addition, I read and reread my tweets before I send them out into the world.
And yet, I still worry about writing something dumb.
How I communicate with others is important, and I want everything I send out to have some kind of value as information, humor, a question, or encouragement. Misspelled words, bad grammar, or a careless phrase damages the overall impact and value of the rest of my communication on Twitter.
Even if a tweet can be deleted, damage may be done among those who read an errant tweet before it’s removed. The words we use matter, even they’re part of an endless stream of 140-character messages that flood the internet. The last thing you want is to be noticed for the wrong kind of message.