IS SOCIAL MEDIA THE NEW REALITY (PART V): The Dangers of the Misinterpretation
This is something with which we are all familiar. You know, you post one thing on a certain subject and for the most part, “you think” you’re pretty clear on the context. Next thing you know, someone replies in a manner that does not say, “I understand the meaning,” and it completely changes the angle of your intent going forward.
How? Well, others begin to chime in on what the person misinterpreting what you said, posted. And thus the legs are grown and a dead sprint has ensued in another direction. At that point, all you can do is make a basic statement in reply reminding everyone to keep things in context. Or you can simply delete the post or tweet. Mind you deleting or removing could be offensive to some. Either way, misinterpretation in general conversation is bad enough; however when it is brought to social media, the damage could always potentially be far worse.
So what makes a person misinterpret your post? Sounds like a crazy question because there could be a myriad of answers right? Well, the reason I ask this “basic” sounding question is because not everyone takes it upon themselves to read and “understand” what you’re trying to say when you post a message to social media. Sometimes people see certain words and just respond off of impulse. There’s nothing wrong with that because that’s part of what makes free speech a beautiful thing right? True. However misinterpreting something, writing down the sentiments, and having others comment to your inaccurate commentary in some instances, could mean the difference between peace and war.
Sometimes, the diatribes on the thread get so long and heated, that people aren’t really interested in understanding the original context at that juncture. All’s they know is that it’s controversial and they’re responding accordingly. Thus the unintended stretching of your point goes viral and “you” get all of the credit, especially if it’s bad.
What if the same person continuously misses your point and keeps commenting? Well, nothing will happen if it goes unchecked. When a person always misinterprets what you say, this is when you have to draw the conclusion that either they’re that slow, have no regard as to how others may view what they say on “your” post, or they’re simply up to no good. At that point, you have to take advantage of all of the tools available on the platform. On many occasions, “blocking” is always a good option.
However, before you resort to this measure, make sure you’ve exhausted all other means by which you can mitigate others causing chaos by misrepresenting what you post. Mind you, even if you call yourself politely disavowing someone’s comment, or respectfully reminding them of your original context, it could still come off as offensive to them. Why? Because electronic communication is a chancy thing…as you may already know. Tones, and moods simply may not be accurately interpreted; especially when corresponding with strangers on social media.
This is very prevalent on social media. Folks commenting all over the place, whether the words make sense or not, just so they can be visible by other account holders and possibly setting it up for a connection. This is another form of free social media marketing.
People have to understand that you have NO CONTROL over how someone is going to react to your social media posts. However, it is up to you to control what you can control. In essence, if you see something you have to say something…bottom line. The way the world communicates and stays informed has evolved immensely from how we used to do it. Many people are willing to live and die by social media these days, figuratively and literally (unfortunately). This is where we are now and there’s simply no telling where we’ll be in the future. No, social media does not have to be “your” reality; but it is reality for many others.
-Poet/Author Marc Lacy