Friday, October 31, 2014

The Sound of Our Words...Are You Following Me?

This thought has just been wandering around in my mind for a while. How can we be sure that our readers hear the sound of our written words.

After my rant about the blog post I had read making fun of old people the other day, the author and I carried on a comment conversation concerning the sound of our words. The fact was, not knowing that person's writing style, I did not understand exactly what she was saying. It is one of the glitches that bloggers encounter every day. I suppose that is why we use all those smiley faces and parenthesis enclosed stage prompts to make sure that our readers understand. (Smile now.)

"Are you following me?" is one of those phrases that can be read a number of ways. For example, are you clicking the follow button in the sidebar or liking me on Facebook? (I like that a lot.) OR are you interested in my aging ideas and want to read more OR do you understand my message OR are you just a stalker that might figure out where I live and show up at my front door? Which is it? See, I cannot tell from the words you write unless you are very, very clear.

Once several years ago I responded to a Twitter message from TedInJest. He misread my tone of voice and thought I was being mean. I went back and reread what I had posted. It was a very innocent all be it silly remark but it did not come into his mind the same way it came out of mine.

English: A motel office in Key West, FL. Franç...
English: A motel office in Key West,
 FL. Français : Le bureau d'un motel à Key West,
en Floride. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I had the Frugal Traveler go off on me in a blog post of all online version. He had written about staying in a motel in Florida on the cheap. I looked online to see if I could find the motel and was not impressed. I responded to a Tweet of his asking how clean the motel was. Boy did I make him mad. He wrote a post saying that I was blogging amateur and implied that I had no right to question him at all. I am a nobody and he is very important. It was not a good thing. If he had seen my face or heard the tone of my voice, he would have known that I am a road trip traveler and like to stay in MOM and POP motels. He should have also known that I was a fan of his. All I needed was a little reassuring.

So, be careful to put a disclaimer on your posts somewhere. Don't take for granted that people can hear the tone of your voice in your words.

Has this ever happened to you?



  1. Yep. One of my posts talked about a church I found and joined. Someone added a comment not relevant to what I'd said, so I deleted the post. Another comment came on strong saying I'd been judgmental to delete the comment. Not my intention at all!

  2. I get into those types of things quite frequently also. My blog header contains a quote from Will Rogers that is meant to insinuate that much of what I write is in jest but some just seem to take my words too seriously sometimes.

    Your hotel example was an interesting one although I would probably not be visiting him much after that encounter. Someone who thinks you are nothing and they are super-important would turn me off. I get put in my place frequently by comments and that is a good thing.

    Now do you get the tone of my voice? Thanks for the post Barb...

  3. I don't get that much in my social networking life (blog, book, etc.) but I have in my personal life. Sent an email with the best of intentions or hardly any intentions at all and get back a rant from the recipient. I've decided to try to ignore it when it happens. I'm thinking it's better to just assume we all have good intentions. I think some folks just want to bitch!


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