Reading Between the Lines

Can You Read - The Anti-Social MediaI’m a terrible reader.

When I was young, they tested me for being gifted and talented. It turned out I can solve mathematical problems like nobody’s business. But, if you asked me to look for meaning beyond the face value of the words set down in front of me, I fail miserably.

That’s why it never surprises me when people take things out of context online.

It’s easy to humanize someone talking in front of you. You see their face and hear the words coming from their lips. Their tone rises and falls, and they gesture with their words. It’s easier to figure out what they intended, because it’s right there in front of you, and if you’re still not getting it, you can be a moron and ask them.

Humanizing an avatar is much harder. You can’t tell how much suffering happens to a face that’s always smiling. You can ask someone to explain, but your explanation comes from more words.  Reading between the lines becomes a chore.

Unfortunately, we’re bombarded with too much information to make that effort. Reading online is a chore, not a pleasure. Where before we had to think deeply about what the author meant because we couldn’t reach them, we can now take thirty seconds and reach out to the author.

Is the answer to think harder? To write better? To just ask the author? A combination  I don’t know.

The only thing I know is there is always a human behind the words, and that human has more of story to tell than what little they blogged.


3 Responses to Reading Between the Lines

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