Saturday, November 7, 2015

Is Your (Internet) Tone Misinterpreted? Join the Club!

Oh social media.

Oh Internet.

It's a problem I see frequently on Facebook, as if Facebook wants to test how we truly know our friends. The things your write. The things your friends write. Did you or they write what you did with THAT tone?

I see a lot of posts that seem pretty normal and nicely gestured with the sole purpose of sharing it with people. Then somehow, in some shape or form, minutes later, you see a chain of posts with people arguing about what was just posted. They're either arguing about what's shared, or somehow what someone commented was misinterpreted as offensive or something and now they're arguing about each other's intentions in their post, rather than talking about the post itself. Why are our posts and comments misinterpreted? This might be a better test of friendship on the Internet than having a "dislike" button.

The people who "know" you, whether in real life or if they're an Internet friend, seem to think they understand the way you "write". What you say in real life may or may not be the same as what you say electronically. Do people try to fit your tone in real life to things you say on the Internet? I think that's just unrealistic. They're making a BIG assumption in trying to figure out the tone of your words.

I get it. It's the Internet. Not everyone can interpret the tone in someone's post. Heck, most people don't even bother trying to interpret it. They'll read a sentence and suddenly think, "Wow, this person is so bitter. Really? This post is offensive. I don't agree with how they're trying to get this message out". Such high tension moments arguing about something coming out from nothing.

Then again everyone has an "Internet Personality". The feeling of not having to say something face-to-face allows some sort of filter to go away, right? Maybe you're not being misinterpreted at all. Maybe you're just being trolled.

It's not anyone's job to avoid misinterpretation. I'm not saying anyone should be like me and choose your words carefully so you don't end up writing something that could be misinterpreted (even though sometimes it does anyway). If anything, the best we can do is try to calmly sort it out to make sure we're all on the same page. We're all Internet friends. We should be able to find a resolution.

Just kidding. We're probably all still jerks to one another in some shape or form. This IS the Internet, after all.