I'm a bit old-fashioned, and I will admit the world of instant communications has more negatives than positives in my book. Some tools, especially texting and email, have made communication easier in many cases. However, they have also created a new set of problems. Aside from causing "device addiction," the biggest problem is the destruction of the English language and complete written thoughts.
Who created this crazy rule that all communications have to be instant? Burn it in your brain that instant communications can instantly get you into HOT WATER and also make you look bad.
First of all, acronyms, like TTYL, IDK, and especially LOL, are grossly overused. I doubt most people are laughing out loud as much as their texts make you think. But more importantly, this shorthand type of communication has destroyed proper sentence structure.
Even worse, because we are so accustomed to short phrases, we tend to use that same style everywhere. This can be especially problematic if you are dealing with situations where emotions can run high.
Even short answers to simple questions, like "yes," are often misconstrued. People, especially sensitive types, often read emotions that may or may not exist into a short answer. "Is he mad at me?" or "what a jerk" is a common emotional response to a short answer.
Then you have people like my wife, who gets mad at me because I treat communication with her like I am in a hurry and am often really short with my responses. She hates it. A simple yes or no is not enough for her. Her question, "Are you going to be home for dinner?" will often be met with my response, "yes." She wants more. She wants me to say, "Yes, honey, I'll be home about 6 – what are we having?"
Then there is the professionalism aspect. Using text slang – even when texting – leaves an unprofessional taste in the mouth of many readers. Comments like "what RU doing?" or "K" (instead of "OK") may be quick but can hurt you.
Like it or not, there are many more sensitive types in the world than those who let things bounce off their back. Many of the people we have to communicate with are sensitive people. And if you're discussing a sensitive subject with a sensitive person, well, you've got even more reason to consider what you say very carefully.
When we type out our thoughts and hit the send button, we often have not considered how the other person will interpret our message. Most people who use texts, messenger, and email, forget that it lacks tone of voice, eye contact, compassion, understanding, and human kindness. Electronic communications are often just words on a screen, us telling it like it is.
We lose sight that even the very form of a short, abrupt reply often insults people, even though that was not your intention. And we can be in such a selfish hurry to send an instant message that we say things that, in reality, should not be said at all. But in the fast, take-no-prisoners world of instant communications, we just blurt out a short burst of words, mowing down the folks on the receiving end.
We are often not thinking at all when we respond too quickly about an important topic or subject. Shooting from the hip to say things that are often insensitive, emotionally driven, and reactive never fails to get us in trouble. The time you were hoping to save with an instant message ends up costing you much more time and energy trying to FIX the damage your thoughtless communication caused.
How often have you wished you had not hit the send button? Or worse - panicked to find out how to recall it before it gets opened?
The best advice is SLOW DOWN! Type out complete sentences, and forget the slang and acronyms.
Think about the person on the other end and make sure that you are conveying your true intent clearly. PROOF YOUR WORK! A simple omission or addition of a word can totally change the meaning. Make sure you read every word slowly to be sure it says exactly what you mean.
When dealing with sensitive or potentially negative situations, remember the old saying: Sleep on it before you respond. How many messes would you keep yourself out of by not responding so quickly when your emotionally driven ego is in the way of seeing the truth or the other side of a situation?