Wireless Messages: Once Bitten, Shy
Is this just me? I’ve been more than once bitten by the tones in my Internet emailed messages. I thought I’d learned from the past, but along came someone who misinterpreted what I wrote, probably due to tone. Once again, I've become shy, unsure ofmyself.
As for "bitten"– My ancestry includes England where a late 1400s printer translated an Aesop fable line from Greek to "He that hath ben ones begyled by somme other ought to kepe hym wel fro(m) the same." Through centuries of translations came the phrase, “once bitten, twice shy.”
In this Dispatches, Gary Best writes in “Killing the History of a People” how we hear, in veterans’ oral histories, their tones. My tones and those with whom I’m talking via phone calls and face-to-face conversations are usually heard. This hasn’t always the case with my Internet-texted messages.
After having been burned awhile back due to tone, I’ve tried to comply with Theodore Roosevelt’s (paraphrased), Walk softly when you carry a big stick. I don’t think of myself as a “big stick” when I dash off electronic messages, including as Dispatches volunteer copy editor/proofer but, sometimes, I don’t pay attention to tone. Excuse? As a deadline-driven writer, my tone is usually a brisk get-to-it one so as to save recipients’, my time.
Now What? If we’re offended by the tones of messages received from family or friends via the Internet and/or phone text, we should let senders know. Otherwise, if they keep doing what they’ve always done, we’ll keep getting from them what we’ve always gotten. (Duly noted by Nancy)