By now you should have heard or read about the Netherland’s riots created by a Facebook invite to a party. (If not, Google it or see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-19684708)
The sixteen year old either didn’t know how to create a private event in Facebook, or she simply was distracted, or typed and clicked too fast, or the technology device she was using was not the most appropriate for such end.
I have also received chat and email messages and posts not intended for me. I’m sure you also have received the odd response to a question you didn’t ask, or an inadequate comment by someone you don’t have those types of conversation with; and we all have seen public postings of what should have been a private conversation.
I have also made mistakes and I’m sure you have too –unless you are not human- sometimes for typing and clicking too fast, sometimes for using a different device (computer Vs. tablet Vs. smartphone Vs. different browser Vs. different App; or for having Twitter and Facebook linked, FB and Outlook and Hotmail linked; or for using erroneously different Social Networks* keying and clicking functions, etc. etc.).
We incur in errors sometimes for reasons we understand (PC suddenly freezing while we were clicking away), sometimes for reasons we don’t understand (somebody hacked your account), sometimes because that’s life (left session open and kids –or friends- were around), and sometimes by simply doing too many things at once on three different devices, for instance.
These situations are either funny, disappointing, embarrassing, baffling, or even sad. As in that recent party turned riot event that went viral, there are many other instances that create an unintended result that we try to fix when it is already too late.
The damage has been done and no words, apologies or otherwise, can repair it. The best we can hope for is that the other parties recognize these things can and do derail too. If by chance they have been in the same boat we have a benefit in common understanding; if not, we are losing.
So, what to do? The best is to be careful. Careful what we wish for as in careful when we speak or type, and mainly to pay more attention to the things we are doing. Even if we feel we can multitask on many fronts, facts tell us we cannot cover all the bases at once.
That piece of news was a good lesson that we could perhaps appreciate.
Similarly, although with not such magnitude, when a hard lesson is enforced on us, then that’s what really makes us learn.
I had a recent one and although its effects still linger now I’m grateful for that. Now I’m paying more attention to my posts, comments, replies, and absolutely everything I do online and with regards to communication. All those carry now a mandatory double check –even if I have my Social Networks referee by my side- before I click or enter Send.
These types of things we know about for sure are the minority. No way to imagine the many times we’ve done something similar and, since nobody calls attention to it, we don’t even notice.
I wish most of us read news like that party-turned-riot and other similar stories, I guarantee you we would have a better Social Network environment if we use these as an effective and positive tool, instead or mainly a place to play.
Being said all this, don’t worry much if you incur in these inadequate situations. Simply absorb as much wisdom such lessons provide and apply it.
You get better: just be careful what you wish for. Be careful what you write for.
In great drawings, the pencil is the star, but believe me: a masterpiece would never be created without the eraser.
*Badoo, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, MeetMe, My Space, Netlog, Ning, Orkut, Pinterest, Que Pasa, Twitter, Xing, etc. etc.