Answering the call: stepping into a new season

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Photo by Jae Park on Unsplash.

Although March came in like a lion and snow still lingers on the ground in my slice of the forest, I recently spotted a robin—a hopeful sign that spring is just around the corner. And while it was fun to experience a “real” winter after 22 years, I’m looking forward to…[read more]

A new home: Always the write time for hope, humor & heart

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A cyber burnout

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[Image credit: Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot]

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about a self-imposed time out.  It’s when enough is enough and you just need to step away from technology and all its demands.  Not the commitments that are necessary to keep business running smoothly or remain available for family, but the ones that take us away from the things we should be doing.  In fact, sometimes I’d like to declare an email bankruptcy — an opportunity to purge every message and start over with a clean inbox.  Other times I tell myself: only one more game of Words With Friends and then I’ll start the laundry, do the dusting, make dinner, work on taxes, write 100 words, fill in the blank.  When it gets to a point where your life revolves more around your IP address than the location you call home, it may be time to pull the plug for a pre-determined period in order to regroup.  For example, I’ve known friends who have taken a hiatus from Facebook for weeks at a time to focus on whatever it is that needs attention on their side of the monitor.  I’m getting close to that place, myself.

Does your real life take a back seat to the cyber world, or is it well-balanced between the two?

Make your words count

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Email or Call

[Graphic credit: Stuart Miles]

Words, once they are printed, have a life of their own. ~ Carol Burnett

Along the same lines of choosing your words wisely because you can’t take them back, the quote by Carol Burnett reminds us that the printed word also becomes a living — almost breathing — entity.  A few years ago when I returned to ASU to finish my four-year degree, I wrote a personal essay for one of my classes on the power of the tongue.  In comparison to the wind, both are weightless, yet [have] the power to build up walls or tear down bridges — [their] influence capable of eroding foundations and destroying dreams.  In this electronic day and age, it’s important to keep in mind that although quotes can be retracted with a simple statement, if the information is damning, the harm has already been done.  Oftentimes, it’s simply smarter to say what you have to say either in person, or on the phone, where tones of voice and/or facial expressions fill in the gaps.  Or, if you have the luxury of time, hang on to an email or a text for an extra day or two while you think on it.  A little extra effort can go a long way in making sure our words heal, rather than hurt.

How many times do you wish you could take back something you’ve written after you’ve already pressed “send?”

Boy meets world (wide web)

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[Image credit: KROMKRATHOG]

Be obscure clearly. ~ E.B. White

This quote by E.B. White is exactly how I’m feeling about cyber communications and social media at the moment, because it is by far one of the easiest ways to misrepresent ourselves without even trying.  Social-networking via the Internet and its ease in keeping us connected is a mixed blessing and a curse because it’s almost effortless to keep in touch anywhere in the world, but even easier for a friend to mistakenly read between the lines.  A hastily sent email, a text using the wrong word or missing a crucial piece of punctuation — even  face-to-face chats can be misinterpreted or left unfinished.  In one sense the World Wide Web keeps us linked in, but at the same time it’s making it harder for us to maintain, let alone grow, these long distance relationships beyond the 4G network.  The Internet isn’t going away any time soon, so perhaps the solution to clear communications for boy — or girl — is to make an effort to slow down a little.  Think before IMing or, if it’s possible, wait until you can talk in person to minimize misunderstandings or hurt feelings.  In this age of technology, it may take extra work.  But the best friendships are worth it.

What is your secret to avoiding online misunderstandings?