A social media lesson learned: slow down

Big Hairy Deal

This started out to be a “no big hairy deal” thing–and it really still is. But I have once again been presented with a “lesson,” and I’m going to out my own stumble to share with you, just in case it’s useful.

First, let me acknowledge that, once again, I have been absent from the blog for quite some time–haven’t been in here since May. Life circumstances have changed in such a way that it is inevitably affecting me professionally, and I will make another post about that. Suffice it to say that both my writing and my speaking will change drastically, and while I will still publish to help you be more effective at communicating in your daily life, my approach is going to have to change. But, as I said, that’s for another post.

Now, back to our regular post:

Snowballing

My lesson started out with a simple enjoyment of a Facebook post from writer Jena Schwartz. I don’t know Jena personally, but I connected with her via another writer and mentor of sorts, Karen Maezen Miller, and I have enjoyed Jena’s Facebook posts and other writing for some time now. The post I saw this morning referenced an article from five years ago that, in turn, built on an even older post on Maezen’s blog. (You’ll get the link in a few moments.)

Both blog posts spoke to me in my current circumstances, so I posted on Facebook a link to Maezen’s article from 2009, and then in the comments linked to Jena’s post inspired by it, and shared it with the Public, recommending that people read both. Since I’m friends with both on FB, I also tagged them.

I’m taking care of The Princess today since we don’t have a nurse, so I haven’t seen my wife (The Queen) for most of the day. About three hours after my original post, The Queen messaged me to say that the link from my post was leading to a 404–file not found. “It was there this morning,” I said, and then I started speculating about why a post from 2009 would suddenly disappear.I concluded it must have been because I linked to it, and Maezen saw it (because of the tag), didn’t want it brought up again, and so she had deleted it.

I went to the post and added a comment about the link being broken, since my followers would be getting the same error message, and then I thought about what might have happened. I concluded it must have been because I linked to it, and Maezen saw it (because of the tag), didn’t want it brought up again, and so she had deleted it.

Just to check, I inquired of Jena if she knew anything about it. She said something like no, I don’t know, but just to be certain I’m going to delete my post. I said I would do the same–quiet, respectful, etc.

The Lesson

Had I been smarter, I would have checked the FB post one more time.

But I’m not that smart.

I went straight to the post and deleted it. Despite the usual Facebook warning (“If you continue, you will completely destroy this post and all the comments, and you will never, never, never be able to get any of it back, so make sure before you hit that button, and think about it hard, are you reallyreallyreally sure?” or something like that), I clicked through to complete the deletion.

Then I checked my notifications.

Oh! Maezen had commented on the post! But, of course, when I followed the link to read it, I got the standard “That content is no longer available”–because I had irretrievably already deleted the post and all its associated comments.” So I have no idea what she said.

Since I still had Jena’s blog post from 2012 in a tab, I followed the link from it and found that Maezen’s original 2009 post was back–but with an updated italicized intro making it current (and today’s date), obviously to make it more meaningful for people who would be reading my FB post, and to share it with others who might be similarly encouraged.

I’ll bet Maezen’s comment was one of her usual graciously helpful comments explaining why it had been momentarily unavailable.

Two seconds. Just two more seconds of slowing down, thinking about it, checking things out before taking action would have avoided all this. As it happens, it’s still not a big deal. I can post it all up again, which isn’t that hard. And I will include a link to this blog post for people who wonder why they’re seeing it again, including Maezen. But if I had just been a little more mindful about it….

No, I’m not beating myself up about it. I’m just trying to make a little more certain to remember the lesson the next time I run ahead of my mindfulness. And perhaps Maezen will be gracious enough to laugh along with me, and tell me what the comment was that I deleted!

Does this help you avoid similar mindless rushing? I hope it helps somebody, somewhere.

I’ll post about changes for the site and for me in a couple of days. In the meantime, thank you for your support!

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Author: Donn King

Donn King works with individuals and organizations who want to forge top-notch communication skills to increase their influence and impact. He is associate professor of speech and journalism at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville, Tennessee, as well as a speaker and writer. His background includes ministry, newspaper, radio, small magazines and other publications, as well as co-authoring a textbook and blogging.