Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Interesting. Or Is It?

Interesting.

The very idea of being interesting is well, um, interesting to me. I can't think of the last time I witnessed someone using the word to actually describe something they found genuinely interesting. Instead, I can think of it being used to convey other thoughts. Like the following:


1. You are stupid. That is a dumb idea. But whatever.
2. Are you freaking kidding me?
3. I don't care in the slightest that we are sharing oxygen. I really. Just. Don't. Care.
4. Are you still talking? Because I was thinking we should ditch this popsicle stand...
5. It's a good thing you are so good looking.


Of course, this is just my opinion. But the fact is that when I hear the word, "interesting," I want to learn more. Not necessarily about the subject matter of the conversation, but more about the person who muttered it. And if I can catch a glimpse of their face as they say the word outloud, all the better. The mere muttering of the word "interesting" makes me interested in them.
The problem occurs when transferring these thoughts and actions to the world of social media. It's one thing to smile and scream, "seriously!" to your best friend when they tell you they got engaged. But when you text the same thing, they might interpret it differently as, "Seriously? You are going to marry that bum?" Or worse, "Seriously? He asked YOU to marry HIM?"

So think about the last time someone texted the word "interesting" to you and compare it to the last time you heard it in person. Never again will you assume that indeed, the sender of the text meant what they texted.
This new wave of misunderstanding the semantics of the message is a result of the sentiment being misdirected or misinterpreted. In order to avoid such a catastrophy, why not try connecting with the person you find so interesting. You were the interested party, weren't you?

If you think about it, it's not a new rule to keep your emotions in check when communicating your thoughts with your words or run into unintended consequences of an overly aggressive message. It's all in the semantics and it's all very interesting. For example, think about how the simple statement of "Ohhhh...nice! I really like your new haircut. I'm so surprised. You look great!"

turns into...

"Oh my god, you got your hair cut! You look soooo good! Holy crap...I really mean it...you actually look fantastic...no, really, I'm not lying this time...you, of all people, have accomplished a level of attractiveness whereby I do not feel like totally vomiting when I open my eyes and see you in my line of vision..."
You get the picture. It's interesting how quickly we can move from trying to communicate effectively with an intended audience to tripping over ourselves just to get to a place where we get to shut the hell up already.

All of this is to say that no matter how much we text or how often we engage in online social environments, there will always be a need for brick and mortar meetings, in-person gatherings and happy hours. It's those times that we put our blackberries down and pick our martini's up that the most interesting things happen.