A Foot in Computer Moment!

by Candace on February 20, 2010

In many of my writings you have heard me talk about the ineffective communication medium of email.  You have also heard me write about being conscious about the words you select and how you say them.

Well, I had a foot in computer moment yesterday.  Yes, I wrote an email and thought I was being very deliberate in my communication.  But what I did not do was read the communication that I was responding to correctly and made a fool out of myself by writing an articulate rant that was totally offensive and inaccurate. 

I was actually feeling very proud of the reply when I sent it until I re-read the email I was replying to and found that I had interpreted it completely incorrectly.  Boy did I feel like an idiot.  In actuality the email was very sweet and humorous and I took it for just the opposite.  I was feeling pretty lousy about myself!  Then I realized that the person I sent my rant to would probably be feeling confused by my response and a bit angry about what I said so I felt even worse.  Immediately I had to belly up to the bar take my medicine and write a humiliating apology.

After sending the apology I had to really take a good look at myself and identify how I could let this happened.  What was it that made me jump to conclusion?  What I found was that besides being an Aries and trying to move at the speed of light (yes, I am working of this liability too) I realized my lesson here was two fold. 

First, it reiterated to me the importance of being deliberate in my communication (especially in email because once it is in writing you REALLY can’t take it back). 

Second, in communication via email all of the nuances of communicating in person are missing so it is very easy to get the essence of the communication incorrectly.  So, before responding again to an email I will read it more than once and if there is any doubt about the message I will pick up the phone and call!

Alexander Pope’s quote:  “To error is human, to forgive divine”, comes from his essay on criticism.  In this poem he addresses not only the innocent reader but the intending author.  Wow, thinking in terms of the reader being the innocent party really puts the impetus of communication on the writer!  Even back in 1709 when this quote was written it was apparent the flaws in communication. 

I am hoping that the innocent recipient of my mis-guided rant is lead by divinity into the graciousness of forgiveness!

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