Thursday, June 29, 2006

You Never Know Who's Reading

Or: I Have Trained Spider-Bots and I'm Not Afraid to Use Them!

Last Friday, I commented on the use of "business-speak" in one of my husband's magazines, explained what I meant by the term, and discussed the danger of such language keeping an audience at bay. I quoted an example of it, and took the author to task. I also admitted to being guilty of the same tendencies.

Ah, beware of publicly calling someone on the carpet. You never know when they'll hear what you have to say. (I suspect a legion of trained spider-bots crawling the web looking for any reference to certain keywords, which I no doubt used in the earlier posting.) The following Monday, a reference to the business-speak post appeared.

Fortunately, Mr. U. was very gracious -- a thing that is not always easy when people you don't know type your name and follow it with criticism, however well-intended. He could have taken issue with the topic in general. He could have called my intelligence into question. But he didn't.

The point is, you never know who's reading you. Oh, sure, you know your MOTHER does. And your spouse. And (maybe) a friend or two. But beyond that, it's difficult to pin down who is and is not exposed to the words we write.

The other point, I suppose, is to not take criticism personally when it comes (and it will). It's difficult, but imperative, to remember that most criticism is not personal. It's our duty to analyze any criticism and determine its validity. We need to decide how we're going to address the issue -- and then move forward, beyond it.

Mr. U. did a great job on that front. And I don't care how many spider-bots tell him I said so.