Monday, January 12, 2015

Manners Monday - #DareToBePolite - Never Put Anything in Writing...

Words, so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

The old adage to ‘never put anything in writing you wouldn’t want read by … your mother, your spouse, your boss, your children, your clients, your teacher, your employees, or blasted across the front page has never rung more true.  The written word - whether penned with a feather or typed on a tiny tablet - can come back to haunt you. It is a permanent record of what you thought, felt and believed at a given point and time. Words can be tracked, traced, manipulated, punishing and unforgiving. Particularly, in today's world where nothing escapes scrutiny and everyone is equally responsible. Even those at the tip-top cannot be fully protected. We've witnessed this time and again.  For a recent example, just ask one of the top tier executives at Sony. Of course, the scrutiny is not limited to the entertainment industry, it is epidemic worldwide. The horrific attack on the satirist magazine, Charlie Hebdo, has given everyone pause to perhaps rethink what is printed. While the freedom of speech, which gives us the right to print our opinions and ideas and is protected by the First Amendment must always persist, each incidence against it reminds us that there is no more powerful communication.  Its influence reaches far and wide and its message runs deep and eternal. 

Our global and technologically-connected world has given everyone a voice with no limits. One does not have to work for a high profile entertainment company or French satirical magazine to be heard. Our words may be written on a multitude of platforms that have the ability to reach anyone instantaneously. No longer do we have to go through a chain of command to have them published. Anyone with determination can distribute their innermost thoughts and beliefs with one press of a button and have them available on a massive scale.  This makes this period and time in history both exhilarating and scary as hell.

Step 3/Week 2: Communication: Never Put Anything in Writing...For the next seven days, aspire to be more mindful of what you write.  Double check your emails before sending. Re-read the content and make sure you aren’t offending anyone. Question whether you should hit ‘reply all’ or simply ‘reply’ to the recipient and remember to refrain from using all CAPS.  Use this week to triple check your texts. Better yet, try limiting these communications to mentions of running late or checking in. Texts are not designed for profound communications or professes of love or hate, and certainly not for altercations. Monitor what you say on social media. As boring as it sounds, better to save your witticisms for something nice than something nasty that will only bring turmoil and judgment. Bloggers and writers, notice if you are writing with the sole purpose to receive a reaction or writing with a bigger mission to uplift and inspire. Use this week as an experiment in written self-censorship rather than regurgitating every minuscule thought and feeling that comes to mind. Share with us what you observe in yourself and in others. Join us now! Make the vow to #daretobepolite!  

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