Sunday, December 16, 2012

Miss Communications

Twitter has been, shall we say... quite active in Edmonton over the past few days. Two of the recent major events causing the locals to uproar was the tragic massacre of little children and adults in Newtown, and the tweeting of a check stop location.

I'm not sure you can even come close to relating these two items on a scale of 1 to anything. I for one can not even BEGIN to fathom the pain of all of the people affected. My heart goes out to those who have been.

With that said, this post is about the challenges people face in expressing anything within the world of 140 characters. They say communication comprises about 7 percent of the spoken words, with the balance coming from facial expressions, body language gestures and the tone and voice inflections. Bottom line being, when you get into something as complex as these two issue have been, you have about a seven percent chance of your text words being received in the manner you meant them to be. ... All within 140 characters.

Common sense would dictate then, that if you see something that irks you, you would take a moment to ask the other person what they meant. And I get it, really... I do. When you deal with emotional issues of any kind, the mouth speaks (or in this case the fingers type) much faster than the brain thinks. And in dealing with complex issues, you generally are involved in a "thread" of chatter. People must also remember that the number of followers differs between "you and me and them" (this can dictate the speed of ones feed) and the people I follow are going to be different than the people you follow, which increases the challenge of being involved in that thread. Anyway...

When the Newtown news hit twitter, it went viral. Horror... shock... and speechless to start with. Information came pouring in, the urge to "speak" was huge. The question was "what to say" to make some form of valid contribution. Not wanting to jump to any conclusions or onto any bandwagons, I simply stated "Killing kids.. sigh. #Newtown". Time went on, more information came in, and I added in a few simple statements representing the shock and horror to a few friends, and sent out "Dear #USA. Ya know... it's time for some serious gun legislation. #uspoli" and a few comments on my disgust for the reporters who were in such a hurry to scoop interview time with the kids involved. On a side note, any who did this should be fired.

After watching more and more information, I then stated "God Bless America... how's that working for you? #Newton". (yes, I know, I misspelled the hash tag.. sigh) The statement was meant to be challenge to the concept of what the USA is (in theory) supposed to represent to the world. How great we are, how much we value freedoms, etc etc... Perhaps what could be more known as the "American Arrogance Factor". Let me first state, I love the USA and the people. I have MANY dear friends that live there and I have visited the country many times... as recent as this summer. My USA buddies have been the first people to acknowledge this, many openly admitting they have issues that need fixing. (I kind of think we as a world, all have things needing fixing, I just wanted to point out the 'statement' was not a slap in the face to the USA, but as a wake up call for their values.)

A short time later I was accused of religion bashing and told to "grow up" by an individual with whom I've had many extremely positive discussions with, and despite political differences, one that I had a lot of respect for. ... I admit, that comment pissed me off because it had, in my mind, nothing to do with religion in any way shape or form. We had a few more tweets, with my blood boiling, and I knew I was not in any emotional state where I could handle any more of the horror, and I left twitter for the rest of the day.

The following day, the Newtown incident stream was down to a more manageable level, but along came tweets about a check stop that had been broadcast. Before I delve into this issue, a tweet came along from @Social_Moi with a reference to my "god bless" comment that I found to be fitting. Note, her comment was not in reply to what I said, but fit with the concept I was trying to address. I will include that now for your viewing pleasure... It appears to have originated from Handgun Control Inc, in Washington D.C.

Back to the check stop issue. Now I do admit, I have issues with the logic of the police service asking those locations not be told, yet in the next breath they contact media outlets on where they are doing radar locations. Seems even tweeting those is "approved". Do let me state that I detest people who drink and drive. My issue is not with their stupidity, but with the concept of tweeting to evade. Those who speed probably cause more accidents and (ugly word.. please over look it) damage... but we clearly see a lot of deaths that happen from drunk drivers. I tend to be of the mindset that I wish it were just the drunks that got killed instead however this seldom happens. And yes, I know it's not politically correct to wish death on anyone. So anyway...

The cops don't want people saying where the check stops are. I get it. I still don't think that the majority of the drunks have got the smarts to check twitter in the hopes of finding the locations.But maybe some do. Who knows. The twitter discussions on this reference the fact that a drunk can not become "un-drunk" but a speeder can slow down. And yes, the speeders... at least those who are aware of the locations, do indeed slow down so they don't get a ticket. And I'm guessing the moment they pass that radar trap they speed right back up again. So I kinda fail to see how this really helps matters.

My logic is, if you are going to deal with one then you should deal with both. Both cause problems. Bad problems. So why is one okay, and the other not. In closing, as for the "religious" slam... I don't think I have portrayed an image of 'prejudice' against anyone. I've always said that I don't care what color you are, what religion (if any) that you prefer, what your sexual preferences are, or anything along those lines. You are either a good person or a bad person, in simple terms. I will respect your right to your opinion. I may not agree with it. And unless it's an opinion that really stinks (according to base society standards) then I will not continue to communicate. If you block me or I block you over something, then it is what it is.

Just don't judge me based on a few pieces of miss-communication.

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