Just Exactly What Did You Mean?

by Debbie Twomey on February 27, 2014


 The power of the word on social media can reach people in way you had not meant them too so here is a word of    warning. “Humor does not always transcend the printed word.” It is really important to say what you mean and mean what you say.

I just learned a very valuable lesson. Most words are open for interpretation and this can cause a problem when there should not be one. My mentor Dr Mary Starr has told me to be cautious with my humor and that it could be taken the wrong way. She was right! Tonight it was and by someone I would never want to hurt.

Last week one of my cousins posted on her newsfeed “I can't handle the stupidity on my newsfeed.” Because she was related I figured it would be even better to post right on her page rather than within this post so I posted “Stupid is as stupid does” with a monkey covering its ears. I thought she would know the line from Forrest Gump and know I meant stupid does stupid—a word I really do not even really like but was trying to be humorous about.

Now as I read it back I can see why it could have been misunderstood because how it reads is that stupid knows stupid. That is not what I mean at all. I meant that stupid just does stupid and best to not even listen (in case it was an insult she was responding to). I mean she did not say she posted stupid things so I did not even consider she would take it personally. Instead it looked as though I was the one insulting her and it was not until I started writing this blog that I truly understood it could be taken the way she took it.

Even with all the training I have taken in Social Media and the cautions regarding what we post, I still thought my personality would come through and my cousin would know exactly what I meant. If I were reading that right now, I think I would have taken exception to it too.

You would have to know my cousin and her family to know how far this was from trying to hurt her feelings. I was reacting to her feeling as though some people post such silly things to their Facebook (as I have often done myself). I didn’t think she was being mean or nasty just saying “hey, some things are so silly.”  And I thought she would think it was funny– what I posted.

Well, it was not. When her mom contacted me and basically dressed me down for saying such a nasty thing—I could not believe it was taken in that manner. But, as I have just said, in reading it now—how could they not think the worst?

I admit it hurt my feelings to think any of her family felt I had posted a ‘veiled’ insult. The idea made me cry that they could think that of me or that I could have caused any hurt feelings. But, if my family—who knows me pretty well, could think that of me, what would strangers think when they read my posts?

I once made the error of putting some of my drama with my daughter on Facebook and discovered it was not a good move for either of us. I was frustrated and reacting to her insults posted onto my page (which is not an excuse just the reason I had done it). I had not begun my social media position but when others reacted to my posts citing that it was not very constructive, I accepted that. I also resolved that there is some “dirty laundry” that should not be on Facebook, at least not my page.

In my training with Sandi Krakowski (www.arealchange.com) she teaches that we should always be true to our own voice and that sharing personal gives us more credibility. But, I needed to learn there is a line in disclosing your life to others. Let me just say—this has always been an issue with me (that line!) long before Social Media.

So now I may share it is a bad day or I feel crummy or some fool cut me off in traffic but some things should remain personal. Most of you know I share quite a bit about my granddaughter as she is a major part of my day right now. But I hope I infuse a little bit of intelligence regarding current topics as well sharing Young Living information since I believe in it. And I try to share things that tickle me or even upset me without insulting anyone. Being true to me does mean sometimes I must reserve my opinion much as I may want to argue because it can be counterproductive. And many times I have discovered that being judgmental is not very Christian and only hurts me in the long run.

I appreciated that my cousin addressed this privately (and here I go disclosing it all but my intention is to make a serious point) and we could resolve the misunderstanding. But what if this affected someone I do business with—what if they took a post I wrote in a way it was not intended and it cost me their trust?

This incident just made me more aware of the power of the word in Social Media and that those of us in this business have a responsibility to be ethical, fair and clear as possible. This does not mean we have to agree with everything we read or cannot react in a negative way to something that really affects us, but it does mean it can be done in a precise and principled manner without crudity or insults. We want to be trusted not to always think we are viewed as Right.

I do apologize once again for my faux paux. My cousin was hurt by it and I immediately removed it so as to not confuse anyone else. My cousin was simply expressing her opinion and I was trying to tell her not to let them bother her and it was me who really upset her. I apologize for being so ambiguous and letting my words be so open to confusion. I should know better.


"I have dedicated my life to the care and welfare of children. I feel privileged to share what I have learned with you. I am also committed to continuously learning.  I will keep informed of the latest information in parenting children from newborns to teens and pass it on to all of you.”   I will also use that same passion to help you create a dynasty generate increases in your business with straightforward and specialized media managing skills that guarantee your connection and scope will grow. Keep up to date reading our posts and discover valuable insights that can make parenting and succeeding in the business of the blogger– the most exciting adventure. (Debbie Twomey) https://www.facebook.com/debbietwomeySMM

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