An old friend of mine, I’ll call her “Jane”, sent me an unexpected note last night.
Earlier in the evening I written a bit of a critical post via social media. In the post I made a rather crass (and vague) critique on what I felt were short-sited travel woes by a couple of folks. These folks had shared their separate, mild complaints earlier in the day via social media posts.
Jane knows one of the folks I was talking about and took issue with my comment. She shared her thoughts politely but pointedly, and was spot on. I thought about what she said, and quickly realized my impulsive critique was: A) not written very well. B) worse still, Negative rather than Positive. It wasn’t the voice I want to project in the world, and it didn’t convey what I’d intended it to convey.
Once I had this realization, I deleted the post. I fumbled through a couple of responses to Jane thanking her for reaching out, and for her candor, and apologizing for the “confusion”. Though I took the comment down, the hurt had been done but my poorly written, negative critique. What I learned from this unexpected sequence of events last night were these things.
- I need to insure whatever I post to social media be worded well, to make my content as true to what I want to say as I can;
- I need to resist the impulse to post careless (or worse yet, thoughtless) comments;
- I want to have a positive voice in the world, and have a positive effect. That is my underlying motivation and I need to be true to that calling.
What I also was reminded of was something I’ve often from social media folks and often say to others about Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, etc.: Don’t put something out there you don’t want everyone to see, even unintended parties. Nor should you put anything out there you don’t mind losing control of. Because once it’s out there, you can’t take it back. Even if you delete the content.
Good lessons sometimes come at the most unexpected times, from people you’re not expecting them from. Be grateful for those times. I know I am. And I’m thankful for an old friendship that still remains true enough that my friend reached out to share her candid thoughts, which turned out to provide me a good lesson, too.