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.



9 Responses to “Some Words You Can’t Take Back!

  • Always a hard lesson to learn lol. Words never fade even when deleted. 😉

    • It is a hard lesson to learn. I’ve heard more than one story of people who got fired for what they posted online even if it had nothing to do with their jobs.

  • Fab post. So true. Many people don’t think past the moment when voicing their opinions on the web, which may as well be ‘globally’. It’s like trying to take back words after hurting someone with them. You can forgive, but not forget. 🙂

  • I think people take too seriously what is posted online …the ability to speak ones mind to a great number of people in relative obscurity is empowering…so much so, that people express opinions that they would never express face to face…I’ve learned to take much of this online business in that light and although I enjoy getting “down and dirty” with the best of them , I mostly giggle and laugh my way through each conversation and don’t take it all too seriously. I’ve been unfriended a few times now calling people out on their egotism , hyperbole, overt prejudices and obvious biases…just recently when I pointed out to someone how I thought their story about a homeless scam ( which I thought was more about her than anything else ) could dissuade people from helping…she became indignant and bingo , unfriended…so serious ! I laugh at the world and myself on a daily basis and find that this online business has taken our egotism to a new level…I say what is on my mind vigorously and move on and when people disagree or criticize me , so be it…I’m not attached to it … discussion over…so glad I’m not running for public office…!

    • I don’t know. I think watching you run could be very entertaining. I saw your “homeless” interaction too. Thought your point was valid and quite humane. Some folks are so touchy! I may have offended that same poster once myself when I dared to disagree with the opinion of a politician she was touting. I said I liked and supported him overall but did not think his views on public education were strong enough as he supports too many charters for my taste. You wouldn’t think that would be so controversial but she reached out to me and asked me to remove what I had written because it somehow might offend someone else she was trying to please. Oh well. Can’t please all the people all of the time, can we? What was it Rick Nelson sang in “Garden Party?” “Can’t please everyone so I’ve got to please myself.” He was so right.

  • …I am active in my community , but nothing larger…it gets too dicey passed that … I prefer other ways to leave my impression …it’s way more gratifying to bring more laughter , love and learning into the world … to live with dignity and empathy and hope it rubs off…you know I’m a big Bernie supporter because as far as politicians go , I believe that he has taken a similar path…I’m hopeful that what he says will come to pass…but if not , I will continue on my journey…undeterred…

    • I’m happy to have reconnected with your journey. It’s been my pleasure to watch you go. I will continue doing exactly that.

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