Pay it forward…in the mind of the reader

While watching the morning news I saw a young woman reading her op-ed piece she had sent to the Wall Street Journal about being rejected by some colleges. You can read some of the story here if you missed it, or you don’t subscribe to the WSJ (I don’t).

I thought the piece was funny and a little satirical. Here is a smart young woman who was probably told all her life that she could be anything she wanted to be and go to any school she wanted. And she got rejected by Ivy League schools.  Remember, I was listening to her read the piece with all of her tonal qualities exactly the way she intended it to sound.  The problem for this young woman has been caused by other people reading her comments without the expressions she intended to convey. There are a lot of people who think she is a spoiled brat because of what they think she meant rather than reading what she really said. Think of your favorite comedian….if you read their performance without knowing it was from a comedian, you would probably be offended and irate.

It drove home a point that I think all of us should consider when we read online what someone says. It can be a list serve, a yahoo group or just an email. So many people go off half-cocked and perceive negative tones that maybe really aren’t there. Friendships are lost, flaming occurs and many people have their blood pressure raised unnecessarily.

In the spirit of making my little part of the Internet a nicer place, I promise to think twice and read more than once with an open mind before I interpret something I read as negative.  Will you pay it forward? I Will.