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Old 06-10-2014, 02:23 PM   #8
Steven Forbes
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Hey, Charles.

Yep, I know what you mean.

I don't visit that section very often, but since I moderate a few boards here, I was asked by a person on the boards to step in and do something about that debacle. I don't have any power in that section, but it illustrated my point about being misunderstood perfectly.

I could have pointed to another thread, but I try not to make too many columns about me, or have me tangentially involved. I mean, it's bad enough I'm writing the column. I try not to make it a commercial that's all about me while doing it, too. There's a column out there that does this, being all about the creator, and it often reads like a commercial. I don't read or follow it. I don't even know why that particular creator even has a column...

But I digress.

It is easy to be misunderstood when you're online. Words have no inflection or tone. It's all in the reader's head. Tone is implied via word usage and punctuation.

Here is something that I don't understand. If you've been educated, then, at the very least, you know how to read and write. That means you were taught spelling and punctuation, not to mention capitalization and grammar. Why people don't think this is important completely boggles my mind.

Online, words are your only tool. It doesn't matter who you are or what you do. Words will make you or break you. Now, if you're communicating in a language that is not native to you, I believe that most people will take that into consideration. If you don't want to be misunderstood, the first part of that is knowing how to communicate effectively.

The second part, methinks, would be keeping your emotions under control. Too many people don't want to do the hard work. They want credit just for showing up. I earned the title Marine because I put in the work and made the sacrifices to earn it. I didn't balk when the going got tough. I didn't rant and rave when I wasn't appreciated or when things didn't go the way I wanted them to.

Creating art, be it drawing, words, music, cinema, what-have-you, means you have a voice. Most of those with a voice want it to be heard. But you are very right: as soon as you open it for public display, then you are opening yourself for criticism, whether you want it or not.

I don't believe there is a way to be perfectly understood all of the time, because people are people. However, there is definitely a way to mitigate being misunderstood, and that is to effectively communicate with your emotions in check. Doing that, I believe, will take most people a long way.
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