When Intent Is Miscommunicated Or Re-Created

One of the greatest problems with text as a form of communication is that it can be so easily misinterpreted.

Of course, one of the greatest strengths of text as a form of communication is that it can be so easily re-interpreted.

In the first instance, this can be a frustrating from the writer's perspective as I can see via the comments or from blog reaction that my intended message can be seen in a totally different light to my original intent. But, on the other hand, as a reader, the freedom to take someone else's words and view them through my own lense is actually a huge positive. I can take these ideas, sometimes with very little context, and manipulate them to create my own message, my own innovative path forward and create something new beyond the original text laid down by the writer. I like to think of it like the difference between reading the book and seeing the movie. Reading "The Lord Of The Rings" allows the imagination to run wild - but once I saw Peter Jackson's cinematic version, I can only picture orcs and hobbits in one way now.

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2 thoughts on “When Intent Is Miscommunicated Or Re-Created

  1. Wendy Loecker

    I love reading a great book and interpreting it in my own way, but there is context available when reading a book! I do not like receiving a text message on my phone or an email where there is little context and I am left wondering if the communicator was being sarcastic or serious!

  2. Graham Wegner

    Wendy, sorry for the tardiness in responding to your comment. Your point about the brevity of many digital communications is definitely something that leaves the door wide open for miscommunication. There is also cultural implications as well where my own particular view of the world will hamper me in truly understanding another person’s perspective. I suppose it is sometimes the quickly typed up blog posts that give the greatest chance of misunderstanding where I don’t take the time to carefully consider my words. Self reflection has been mistaken for criticism of others, poking fun at myself has been misread as sarcasm or worse still, proof of percieved idiocy! Twitter magnifies the chances of miscommunication even further with its 140 character limit. Maybe podcasts and videos have a better chance of clearer communication as you get tone and facial expression – and that can be a very important ingredient in getting the effective communication recipe right.


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