Some Words You Can’t Take Back!
For those who follow U.S. politics, it’s been an interesting start to our election season with the caucus in Iowa. But that’s not exactly what I want to write about. It’s what happened following that event which makes for an interesting realization: You have to be really careful what you write online, no matter who or how powerful you are. Case in point, Donald Trump. Yes, I apologize as this is one more online bit about Trump, despite the fact I think too much media is already focused on him in less than substantive ways. But something happened to him that could happen to you.
In December he tweeted, “No one remembers who came in second.” This week, Trump came in second. So, of course his tweet, like a mischievous boomerang, came back around to hit him in the head.
Maybe he doesn’t care. But I think you, being a normal human being, might care if something you wrote came back to haunt you, embarrass you or otherwise cause you pain. If you publish anything, whether a book, a blog, or even a tweet or Facebook post, you must be aware those words don’t easily fade away. Once something is online, even if you delete it later, it was out there and as such anyone could have passed it along so deleting it is impossible. Your words could outlive you or their usefulness. It’s imperative, therefore to take everything you write seriously. I wrote a memoir which depicted some (deserving) family members as pretty despicable. I had to think long and hard before hitting “Publish” because I knew backlash was possible. (And for those who’ve read my book, you completely understand why. The intensity of my tale of dysfunctional family is a compelling story but if you are one of the players you probably didn’t want it made public!) But, even if you publish something other than a book, you are wise to think long and hard before you hit send or post or publish. Even if you simply comment on someone else’s work, if it bears your identity, it requires close scrutiny. It only takes a moment to hit “send” but the regret could last years.
You’ve been there, perhaps. You’re writing some of your most passionate work in your coffee-fueled exuberance. You think it’s brilliant and powerful so you hit “Post” and then you take a moment to think. Whoops, too late. Ready, fire, aim is not a good strategy for publishing.
Don’t be like Trump. 🙂 I mean that in the kindest way possible.