The Power of Your Lips and Fingertips

It is now more important than ever to use our absolute best judgment when conveying a message. Of course, there are several ways to do this, whether that be through writing, speaking, or most commonly, typing. 

Being the double-edged sword that social media and technology are, many are still painfully learning that their cuts can be nothing short of catastrophic. 

Even a light/half-hearted joke can come back to bite a person or company years down the line, and in some cases marking the end of it. For example, former Jeopardy! host Mike Richards was pushed to resign due to his 2014 comments directed at women, minorities, and those less fortunate than himself.

This proves that the irreversibility of words leaves a permanently lasting impact, even if it appears to fade from time to time. 

While the discovery of written documents/notes is less likely these days, screenshots, videos, and the simple tap of the word “post” take an almost too short amount of time, along with their aftereffects. 

To put this into context, here is a simple list for now that can be your saving grace later:

  1. First and foremost, comb through your past social media activity. Even if you have posted every day for the past several years, carve out a few minutes to a half-hour each day and give your feed(s) a general overview for potentially offensive, misleading, or discriminating content, then delete accordingly. 
  2. Ask yourself what your future self would think. Are you ultimately confident about the past, present, and potential future concerning your brand and individual self? Being true to oneself is the underlying message, but there are always consequences for doing so, therefore you need to decide if and how you will handle them as they come up. 
  3. Use whatever means possible to be in the know about -isms, forms of prejudice, and discrimination by learning from the examples of others; those affected and those working to combat and bring awareness to the issues literally at hand. On the reverse side, take note of those perpetuating the problem(s) as well.
  4. Put yourself in the other person’s/company’s shoes. Above all, the Golden Rule says, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” From making a comment about a coworker/boss to a tweet about the current situation involving Russia and Ukraine, think about what circumstances have led to their place behavior and actions in a way that puts compassion before criticism. Often these two variables must coexist but put them to the test inside before doing so outside, which can mean a variety of different things, but more constructive outcomes. 

With the concern for racism, sexism, classism, ableism, politics and much more on the rise, any indirect offense, misinterpretation, pun or even meme/gif, can send the wrecking ball rolling. 

The risk is always there, even just two people, thus the verbal and virtual floodgates come open and are never fully closed as images become compromised and/or shattered, increased and long-lasting tensions, decreased employee morale followed by firings and/or resignations, and a chain reaction of both personal and professional collapse. 

We see examples of this every day across the platforms, and it is increasingly more difficult for the masses to consider even one spoken word or tweet a ‘mistake’ anymore. Times are changing, which requires both public and ‘private’ figures to practice empathy both inside and outside themselves, and any deviation of that is rightfully considered a deliberate act. In other words, you oversee what you do with your own thoughts, objectives, along with how you display and use them. 

Between having too big of a filter versus a non-existent one, you should create a healthy dose of fear of not just the words you are about to use, but also the use of your lips and fingertips as the regret of moving them hits hard once the damage; in this case lifelong, is done. 

With scenarios ranging from familial to famous, and impact mild to massive, keep in mind that the world, a.k.a — the keyboard, is your oyster. 

Written by Blog Contributor: Amber Chisholm