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The Person Behind the Keyboard | Mary Biever | One Writing Mother

The Person Behind the Keyboard

“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!” the Wizard orders Dorothy when she’s trying to leave Oz.  She ignores the voice, peeks behind the curtain, and discovers the wizard is human.

The best communicators - in real life and social media – slip through the curtain to give us a glimpse of the person behind the mask.

When we write by email or private message, remembering there’s a person on the other side of the keyboard is imperative. We’ve all gotten poison pen electronic messages. 

One recent morning, I sat down at my computer to joke with virtual friends – my family was still sleeping. I had just finished 2 of my most stressful days of the year – days full of difficult paperwork that’s worse than tax time.  My friends and family had cheered me through these hated days in person, on telephone, and via email.  I was ready for a break and a laugh before my first cup of coffee – time for Christmas to begin!

Instead, I read a terse private message that lacked nuances like please, thank you, Merry Christmas, etc. The complaint had merit, but the tone oozed anger from each sentence. Ouch. My family was all still asleep, and I didn’t want to wake them to cry on their shoulders.

So I tweeted that I was hurt by a private message and needed someone to make me get back in the Christmas spirit. Within a minute of my tweet, I got a first response from a friend sending me a joke. Then another. Then more.  I chatted w/a Facebook friend who texted me encouragement throughout the day.

As I sat in my still-dark living room, with tears rolling down my face, I was not alone. I had shared a glimpse of myself behind the social media curtain, and friends responded. They were my lifeline till my husband woke up, and I could cry on his shoulder.

We often talk of the business and educational value of social media. First and foremost for me, social media builds relationships.

When Twitter, Facebook et al are done well, they reveal to us the person behind the keyboard – good and bad.

Social media inspires me to be a better person behind the keyboard – and to help others do the same.

Oh – and thanks to @News25JordanV, @StevenWABX, @MarketingVeep, @Hsing3Kinder, @TalinaN, @DanaMNelson, and @PlanningForever – and my FB texting encourager – for answering my early a.m. Tweet for help.

4 Responses to “The Person Behind the Keyboard”

  1. BgKahuna December 23, 2010 at 9:00 am #

    It’s amazing seeing one or two messages can cheer you up. Or when one of your friends posts something that is so ridiculous, you can’t help but be in a better mood because you were crying from laughing.

    Great Post.


  2. Talina December 23, 2010 at 9:19 am #

    Hugs!! You rock and I know how helpful a nice message can be, even via social media, when you really need it. You rock!

  3. Johna December 23, 2010 at 10:23 am #

    Great Post! God has gifted you with the art of words, as well as being a GEEK! Love You! and all that you inspire us to do and to say correctly. I now wish I had read your post that early am.

    Thank You,
    Another Geeky/HomeSchool/God-fearing-following Mom

  4. Lily December 24, 2010 at 8:47 am #

    It is unfair to hide behind the keyboard. I have found so many people will say, in writing, what they would never say in person. The scripture in James 3 about taming the tongue can be expanded to the keyboard. My rule, if you can’t or won’t say it in person, don’t say it through the internet.

    I’m glad your friends jumped in there to cheer you up! I love friends that do that!

    Happy Christmas!

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