The joy of lag-time

I’ve been on a blog-writing spree lately, but I don’t expect it to last. That’s why instead of publishing more than one post in a day I just schedule them out in advance. You get some “current events” posts that may be somewhat dated by the time they actually come out, but hopefully you don’t mind too much.

There is one side-effect of this that I’m beginning to appreciate: self-editing. There have been many times I’ve posted something and then had second thoughts later on. Now I have as much as a week or more to think things over and see if that’s really what I wanted to say. There are posts I’ve re-written after having thought about them for a day or two. And there have been posts I’ve yanked that will never see the light of day. Trust me, we’re all happier for it.

This exposes one of the drawbacks of the digital age. The siren song of “instant” is hard to resist, but there are plenty of occasions when we really should stop and think before we send stuff out for everyone to see. Most of us are obscure enough that only a few people are likely to see something should we realize our mistake quickly, but nothing is ever truly gone on the internet anymore. Everything we post can and probably will be used against us at some point.

As WOPR concluded in the 80’s movie “Wargames”, sometimes the only way to win is not to play. Or at the very least, build in some lag time before you click “Publish”. That’s not always possible, of course. While there are third-party apps that let you schedule your Facebook posts, that’s not something Facebook itself allows. That’s too bad. I think we’d all benefit from “cool-down” time before our posts hit the feed. Heat-of-Passion posting, or HOP posts do us no favors.

The ideal, then, would be for us to learn to carefully, dispassionately review our own posts before we send them. In the absence of that, I think we should embrace technology that encourages us to wait. We’ll be happier, and we’ll look better in public.

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