Social media mishaps: Steps to take when you are misunderstood

Recently I posted a brief comment on a doctor friend’s social page.  It was a quick thought that, when taken out of context, came across the wrong way.  He got sore and emailed me about it.  I was upset because my relationship with him means a lot to me.

It was a misunderstanding.  I emailed to explain what I meant and where I was going with my question.  We caught up by phone.  We’re good.  Four years of regular engagement and connection don’t fall apart over something like this.

If this hasn’t happened to you, it will.  Because things move quickly in the stream.  Short-form dialog is ripe for wild interpretation.

The more you do, the more you’ll fail.  And the more you say, the greater the odds that you’ll come off the wrong way when viewed through someone else’s lens.  Every communication tool has its weakness.  We all need to accept and understand the shortcomings of these platforms and have simple mechanisms in place for righting the ship when it tips a bit.

In cases like this:

Social Media Mishaps: 3 Steps to Take When You are Misunderstood

If they can’t see the mishap and your intent was really not maligned, then it’s someone you need not engage with.

There are lots of excuses for avoiding public dialog.  But for me the opportunities of connection have always outweighed the risk of being misunderstood.

Dr. Bryan Vartabedian, assistant professor of pediatrics.

This post originally appeared on Vartabedian’s blog on social media and medicine, 33 ChartsIf you like this you might be interested in Rhode Island Doctors: Don’t be Misunderstood.

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