The Consequences of “Saving Time”

04 Mar

You are probably a writer…

You may not realize it, but you are…

73% of the people in American society are writers…That’s the percentage of people in the US who use their cell phones to send text messages.

If you text, you are a writer.

Scared yet? If you haven’t considered the fact that you are a writer, then you should be.

Words are powerful. Words are transformative…Words are life-affirming.

Words are also destructive.

Even when they aren’t supposed to be.

The danger with text, much like the danger of blogging, is that you cannot see the expression of the writer or hear the tone of their voice.

Now in this blog, I get the opportunity to frame the content of what I am saying. I can edit and revise before posting. I can anticipate how you might react to a comment before I hit “send.”

Most people don’t do that when sending a text.

Most people don’t even take the time to make sure they spelled everything correctly, but I won’t go there…at least not in this blog.

In the interests of saving time, we have taken to short-handing everything…lol, brb, afaik, and btw have become convenient ways to transmit messages in short spurts, but, unfortunately, there are unintended consequences that arise when we conform to this mindset.

We now try to make all messages as short as possible, even messages that might require a bit more time to convey correctly. And, in trying to save time, we actually create more problems that require more time to straighten out than if we had just taken the time to talk on the phone or in person.

This happens a lot with e-mails too. And I am as guilty as anyone of misinterpreting the intentions of the writer.

Recently, I received a lengthy e-mail from a friend. He was lamenting some personal struggles, and it was quite detailed. There were questions of a spiritual nature, and I did not want to answer off the cuff, so I took a couple of days to think on the e-mail and respond.

My response was equally detailed, as I gave them the best words I could find. I thought over them carefully, edited and revised my words a couple of times, and even asked my wife for input. Finally, I hit send.

The next day, I got a brief reply. It essentially said, “Thanks for your words. I’m probably over-reacting.”

That was all…

Now I am wrestling with whether I may have offended them…

I have wandered from my original point, which can be summed up in the following diagram:

You are a writer. ——–> Writers use words. ——–> Words can transform or destroy.


You can transform or destroy.

The next time you need to fire off a “quick message” to someone, don’t think about just what you are going to say…

Think about what the recipient is going to read…

And what they are going to hear when they read your message.

It might save you more time in the long run.

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Posted by on March 4, 2012 in Society, Writing


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