Message Lost in 140 Character Translation

“Clarity is the counterbalance of profound thoughts.” ~ Luc de Clapiers

Twitter is an amazing communication tool that allows people to share their ideas, jokes and HiResfavourite stories. It also connects new friends or business partners and provides us with direct access to celebrities and CEOs in a way that was never before possible.

But there is a downside to this innovative platform. And just like with e-mail, that drawback is often a user’s misinterpretation of the associated emotion or context related to a text message.

Earlier this week, I received what I thought was an offensive tweet from someone that I had met on Twitter. But because I couldn’t figure out what I had done or said to trigger a negative message, I thought it would be best to ask the sender (via the Twitter direct messaging service) to explain what they meant by their tweet.

It turned out that they weren’t being malicious at all. Instead, they were trying to tell me a joke. Unfortunately, I really wasn’t able to get the full context of that joke from such a short text-based message.

Afterwards, I was relieved and thankful that I had asked the person to explain their tweet in further detail. And their joke was kinda funny.

So, the next time you sit down to craft the next 140 character message that you think will enlighten or amuse your Twitter followers, try to think about how the end user might interpret it. Otherwise, you might confuse or insult someone without even knowing it.

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