After being the recipient of tweets, email, comments under blog posts, and other online communications that miss-the-mark, I’m constantly struck by how often I take things the wrong way and end up calling someone to ensure I didn’t misconstrue what they were intending to say and to gain a better understanding of the point they were trying to get across.

This sort of miscommunication is becoming more problematic…not less…especially as real-time communications occur with services like Twitter. Add to that a limit in the number of characters these services allow us to use and you can see how challenging it is to convey any kind of deep meaning using real-time communications.

My son had an assignment for English class that had the following thought provoking table showing how easy it is to make a statement and have it come across COMPLETELY WRONG depending upon the emphasis of one specific word within that statement. You’ve probably seen this sort of stuff before, but it never hurts to be reminded how ONE WORD can completely change the context of your communication.

Think about this the next time you’re ready to click “send” on that tweet.

WHAT I SAID WHAT I MEANT
I didn’t say she stole my money Someone else said it
I didn’t say she stole my money I didn’t say it
I didn’t say she stole my money I only implied it
I didn’t say she stole my money I said someone did, not necessarily her
I didn’t say she stole my money
I considered it borrowed, even though she didn’t ask
I didn’t say she stole my money Only that she stole money
I didn’t say she stole my money She stole stuff which cost me money to replace