What is your interpretation?
Write a story, ask 10 people for their interpretation and I would bet you get 10 different results! Why do you think researchers do “blind studies”? They know there will be different results and are looking for commonalities.
When faced with a particular situation or challenge, you are applying your personal filters before making an interpretation and deciding on how you will react. You won’t be wrong. But, you may not be reacting the way the person sharing information intended. Be careful not to judge “lest ye be judged”! Rather than applying only your filters, put yourself in the shoes of the person sending the message. What is their personal dynamic? Thinking that through, what do you think their interpretation may be?
What is your interpretation now? Did it change?
(eg. In the picture above, you might think this boy and girl were dating and visiting family at Christmas. He was dating someone else at the time and she took the picture!)
What are filters?
Think about coffee filters. There are different types. Bleached versus unbleached. Thicker and thinner, and so on. Using a different filter will affect the end result. Look at metal filters versus paper filters. When you use a very fine grind and a metal filter, there is a higher likelihood of sediment in a pot of coffee than if you used a really dense paper filter. With the paper filter, the coffee actually brews longer and fewer coffee grounds pass through. The result changed because of filters. There is a different taste or “interpretation” of the coffee.
For most of us, the filters are things like ethnicity, social status or sometimes, just the hormones that are raging that day. Tell a teenager and a 40 plus the exact same thing and I would venture to say there will be very different interpretations of your message. Their filters are life experience based on what they have been exposed to by that time and the effects of hormonal activity!
Social Media and interpretation.
When using social media, who is responsible for interpretation? Ultimately, you are.
The person posting has no idea who you are or what your life experience is. They can’t anticipate what your day has been like or what life has thrown at you. The post you are reading may have nothing to do with you but for some reason, you feel it is about you personally. Places like Facebook and Google Circles have such a great reach that you can’t help but have a very large cross section of readers.
For writers, by all means try to anticipate how your message will be received. But, when it comes to your personal stuff, don’t be fake. Share your feelings and accept that sometimes, others will assume it’s about them and become upset. They are applying their filters, not yours, and have no way of knowing what your filters are. If you can’t accept that others will sometimes have a different interpretation, then don’t get involved in Social Media.
Conversely, take responsibility for your own feelings and reactions. Anyone who tells you they have no control is full of beans. They just don’t want to be responsible for their interpretations!
Make it a great day!
P.S. What am I thankful for today? I’m thankful for Social Media, it’s like a giant public diary. I’m thankful for our differences. I’m thankful for the circle of life.
What are you thankful for today?