Social misunderstanding

By DAWN BOOTH, Managing Editor of Connect Weekly

With the upcoming federal election on everyone’s mind, debates and arguments have taken over our online platforms. The views and opinions of others are quite evident on social media, with some flanking out where they strongly stand and who they are voting for.

In the grand scheme of it all, there’s a lot of misunderstanding taking place, as well. I’ve personally had affiliates mention they’ve been “restricted” from seeing others posts, and have even been “unfriended” from others Facebook accounts over political debates.

But the problem is, when you’re not face-to-face or hear the words coming out of someone’s mouth, the words can easily be altered to how ever the reader feels to perceive it.

Social media, emails and text messages are main tools of communicating. It’s helped us become more connected than ever, and I believe they are a crucial part to keeping us engaged with one another, especially during times of elections. (Though some are unaware if social media has helped or hindered political debates). But the problem is, when you’re not face-to-face or hear the words coming out of someone’s mouth, the words can easily be altered to how ever the reader feels to perceive it.

My writing on social media is quite different from how I write in newsprint – I use a lot of “LOL!”, and emojis (a small digital image or icon used to express an idea, emotion, etc.). When being sarcastic, I will use hashtags like “#Eyeroll” to emphasize that I’m not being serious.

After all, I believe the purpose of using emojis, hashtags and abbreviations is to not only quicken the conversation, but to express your feelings. Eliminate them, and a point you are trying to make may get misconstrued completely. (Social media gurus may be rolling their eyes right now on my breakdown and for stating the obvious, but it’s not common practice and these tools can work wonders… possibly even save relationships).

I’m aware misconceptions and misunderstandings will continue to take place on social media. Having said that, if you’re seeking to save yourself from being misunderstood, make sure your message and feelings are loud and clear.

And remember: social media is not a monologue. Most people who think it’s a one way conversation, usually spend the better portion of their time attacking others. They are very clear in their words. They use capital letters and say things they would most likely not say to someone’s face (*See: Fort McMurray Everything Goes on Facebook).

Social media will continue to develop, as should we with our online language. Until Election Day, keep sharing your views, but have an open-mind. Let’s try and see opinions at all angles – and make sure you manage your message before going viral.

Stay CONNECTed!

– Connect Weekly –