A note from Jane
About 10 years ago, I was invited to speak at a publishing industry event at SXSW. The format was similar to PechaKucha, where it’s fast paced, with a strict amount of time to present.
When I spoke, I kept things straightforward and focused on publishing trends. After me, several people pitched their new startup. They may have been event sponsors (my memory is fuzzy on this point), but they focused on their own needs, and from where I sat, they lost the room pretty quickly.
I tweeted as much, using the event hashtag.
This was when Twitter still felt new (at least new to me) and I live-tweeted the conferences I attended.
Within minutes, I was approached by the unhappy publicist of this new venture, also in the audience, who told me that I had lost the room too.
It reminded me of a time in high school where I got in trouble for making fun of an administrator—a taunt that inadvertently was broadcast to the entire school body. Later I was admonished by the school’s director, who told me, “I wouldn’t say anything to THIS WALL that I wouldn’t say in a crowded room.”
While I’ve never forgotten her words, it’s not quite a rule to live by. After all, we need the ability to express things in private that we wouldn’t broadcast to the world.
But before writing or saying something critical, even in a small group, I try to consider: Would I wish I had said this differently, or not said it at all, if the persons most affected by it were in the room with me?
Or, better yet: Would I welcome a response to what I’m about to say?
Enjoy the weekend,
P.S. The most popular blog post at my site this month: The Differences Between Line Editing, Copy Editing, and Proofreading
P.P.S. There is more to this newsletter—keep scrolling!