Friday, June 19, 2009

There's someone out there in cyberspace

It blows my mind that when we communicate electronically -- via email, twitter, facebook, comment boards, whatever -- we always forget that our words have impact and there's a flippin' person on the other end.

Respect, decency, kindness and manners all seem to go out the window when we type away. Sure, the computer is a great place to vent your frustrations. But who has to listen, and who's being impacted (and probably hurt) by your words?

Today the Chicago Tribune posted that Walter Cronkite is in ill health and likely near death. The comment boards brought out the worst in people. The comments ranged from "I thought he was already dead," to "What a liberal commie. He started the liberal bias in media."

Okay, now think for a minute if your grandma or grandpa [or insert loving relative here] were dying and anonymous people said this about your loved one. Hurts, don't it?

And never forget: Do not (ever!) post or email in anger! The most mean-spirited email I ever got contained the two gems below:

"[You are] not a priority for me as I am 9 months pregnant and I don't need the aggravation of you demanding answers or being aggravated at all. It just goes to show how self centered you are and have no regard for anyone that lives a different life than you."


"your wedding was not pleasant on any level."


Now, trust me, EB considered the source, who, quite honestly, I can't say anything good about. But know that someone is on the receiving end. In the digital age, we tend to forget that there's a person out there reading our words.

Write -- stop -- re-read and then ask yourself: is this really worth sending? Who will it impact, and how?

Look forward to seeing you Sunday with some mad props. A polite email, perhaps?