‘Google before you tweet’, is the new ‘Think before you speak’
Ever written a Facebook post, glanced at it and simultaneously hit ‘enter’ and instantly wished you hadn’t done that because there was a grammatical error in it?
Ever tweeted or posted something you thought was super clever and would give you lots of interaction, but the first comment coming back was a snide comment about the subject and made you feel about two inches tall?
Ever written a killer blog late at night, thought you had done all right, scheduled it for an early morning publishing time and when you woke up the next morning you couldn’t figure out why you’d written it, it was so bad?
Even though we use new tools and a completely different way to communicate, what my grandmother used to say still applies today. ‘Think before you speak.’ and ‘If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.’ Wise words from a wise woman – she had fourteen children.
It is hard to know what people like to read, and as we tweet, post and blog into cyberspace, our written words reach many more people than we can imagine. It will land on good ears, but might also be misinterpreted. Be so very careful.
We have so many on-line tools available for spell checking, fact checking and source checking, there’s really no excuse for bad grammar, bad sources or just bad posts. Just use the tools, people.
A great example of this happened just last evening. As I was on Facebook around 10:35 PM Sunday evening May 1, 2011, I saw breaking from ABC, CNN and other news sources come in on my news feed. President Obama was going to make a speech. Highly unusual to say the least and all these reports immediately got re-tweeted, re-posted and the buzz started. We now all now what the announcement was: Osama Bin Laden was confirmed dead.
After staying up late to watch the speech live, I thought I was still half asleep this morning when I was sent a few interesting pictures. Apparently several news station had reported that ‘Obama (Bin Laden) was dead’. I can’t imagine the embarrassment these stations have to live with and the backlash they are receiving from not accurately presenting the news. Among the most cringe-worthy examples was MSNBC’s Norah O’Donnell, who tweeted, “Obama shot and killed” before quickly correcting her mistake.
Here are my suggestions to avoid major embarrassment:
- Check your facts, twice. (Google!)
- Use your on-line dictionary and thesaurus.
- Read the entire post/article before sharing or commenting.
- Don’t link to anything until you clicked on it and have ‘proofread’ it yourself for appropriateness.
- Please use caution before you proceed and hit the ‘enter’ button.
- Ask someone you respect and trust to proofread your eBooks and articles before publishing.
As always, if you have questions, or would like to comment, please feel free to contact Dorien@moreinmedia.com.
Come find me.