I just read an interesting post about Twitter and author, Alice Hoffman. Apparently Alice has a new book out that met with less-than-stellar reviews. Ouch. Even as someone who has yet to publish a novel, I can imagine that reading in the newspaper that your book is “excessive and over-determined but ultimately so moving that it overwhelms these faults,” as they said in the Washington Post, doesn’t feel good.
Back in the day, an author might read that, grab a bottle of wine, her best friends and begin a pity-fest or reviewer bashing session like none other. But, given the modern world, Alice Hoffman had more choices than a good bottle of Merlot and her dear friends. She was able to comment about the reviewers remarks on Twitter. Caution. Caution. Do you see the red lights flashing? In what I imagine was her moment of anger, Alice didn’t see the flashing lights. Let’s just say that when it was all said and done, she issued an apology and, she no longer has a Twitter account.
I understand Alice’s frustration and I understand what appears to be a lack of experience with the power of Web 2.0. I am confronted by my own fears about the power of technology, mainly at work. It all began ten years ago when I was silly enough to put a decorative magnet on my hard drive. Since then, I’ve had some near misses with technology — typing someone’s name in the CC line of an e-mail, just to get the spelling correct, and then sending the message only to later realize that they received a copy. Or, replying to all in an online chat during a Live Meeting when the message I was sending was intended for only one other participant.
These errors have made me blush, just because I feel silly about my mistakes. None of them have been life, or career-threating. That’s because I am careful with words, and I know not to type things that I wouldn’t be willing to say outloud. It’s common sense, really; however, given the speed with which we are now moving and the unchatered territory that we are covering, it’s easy for someone skilled with words, like Alice Hoffman, to make a quick decision which then becomes a grave error with more impact than anticipated.
It’s a good reminder for me when it comes to these newfangled tools at my disposal. They’re amazing, and can add to one’s success, however, there is also the potential for danger, danger, and I need to exercise caution.
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