Pay Close Attention

I really like my iPhone 4s, but there are moments when I think it may be too smart for me, or its own good.

I texted Jonathan this message this morning, “Picked up your mess.” Fortunately, I noticed the message right after I sent it, and sent a correction. The correction was simple: “meds!”

As the messy one in our home, I do not anticipate ever having to send a message, or even offer a comment, to Jonathan about his mess. Jonathan does not do mess.

But this mix-up got me thinking. How many times have I communicated with a confusing or inaccurate message–not because of an active editing function (which I appreciate much of the time) on my iPhone, but because I simply was not clear?

Email is famous for this. People write what we think is clear, and someone reads our message in an entirely different way. I don’t if any global wars have started over emails, but I know lots of smaller conflicts have been instigated or given more life because of emails. Communicating emotional content via email is simply too dangerous in most situations.

I worry about this when I send out weekly pastoral messages, too. I often try to communicate something important (even sometimes some emotional content), and I realize that it could easily be misunderstood.

It is difficult to know how 175 different people will read it. Of course, the best course in any situation where we are offended by someone’s statement is to ask them to explain what they meant.

I know one thing about this incident: I need to slow down a bit, not just with my phone, but in life. I can  utilize new technology but I need to be careful in using it.

I caught the error before Jonathan did, and he responded with humor. But not everyone will feel that way, especially if it is something far worse (a couple of times I have caught this editor trying to “fix” my bad typing–still getting used to the touch screen keyboard–and creating a word I would never send in a message).

So maybe the iPhone is actually teaching me a lesson: pay close attention, messages are important.

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