Saturday, December 18, 2010

Always think before typing

We all face the struggle of controlling our emotions. Adversity enters our life, and before we realize it, we say something in the heat of the moment that does a lot of damage.

Of course, after we make this statement, the adversity we find ourselves in becomes worse. Instead of having to deal with the original problem, we must now deal with the impulsive statements we have made.

No one is immune from this. We have all experienced a moment where we were making a point, and as soon as we said it, we realize it was the wrong thing to say. If possible, we want to catch the words as they are leaving our mouths and stuff them back down our throats.

However, once those words have been spoken, it is too late. The damage has been done, and the clean-up must begin.

With the many different ways we communicate these days, the spoken word is not the only way we can get in trouble. Communication tools like Twitter and Facebook can get us all in trouble if we start sending out messages when we are mad.

Though spoken words can cause a lot of damage, the written word often carries more credibility and impact.

Though there are likely many reasons why this is the case, the primary reason is that people generally pause and give thought before writing a message to somebody.

Because people are supposed to have given that extra thought, it makes a deeper impression with people.

The big problem is when people do not think through what they are about to type and quickly send it out to the public.

Consider the recent plight of Steve Johnson who is a wide receiver with the Buffalo Bills in the National Football League.

In late November, he dropped what would have been a game-winning touchdown pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Bills have had a terrible season and defeating the Steelers would have been a huge upset. His dropped pass played a big role in his team's loss.

Here is what he wrote on Twitter in the aftermath in an outburst against God: "I PRAISE YOU 24/7!!!!!! AND THIS (IS) HOW YOU DO ME!!!!! YOU EXPECT ME TO LEARN FROM THIS??? HOW??? I’LL NEVER FORGET THIS!! EVER!! THX THO..."

This made national news, and the focus of the national media was quite intense on Johnson. He became the man who blamed God for his mistake.

While not condoning his comments, we have to be careful not to be too harsh toward him. As stated earlier in this column, we have all said something in the heat of the moment that we wish we could take back.

When we send out written messages for large groups to read, it is difficult to take them back when we have put a foot in our mouth. It always seems that more people read about the original mistake than the apology that comes after it.

We also see this occur on much smaller stages. On my Facebook account, more than once I have read comments made by friends when they were obviously frustrated or angry who then came back later to apologize for what they wrote.

Our thoughts are tough to control. We are all human, and we will occasionally make mistakes. We just need to be more careful about how we express ourselves when we are experiencing the bitter whirlwind of life.

As convenient as technological breakthroughs like Twitter and Facebook are, we have to be very careful how we use them.

As for Johnson, let us hope he learned from his mistake.

If nothing else, he taught us all a lesson that could save us problems somewhere down the road.

No comments: