I once received an email from a reader who was genuinely concerned about my apparent endorsement of what they considered to be an unhealthy idea. They went to great lengths detailing their criticism of my “beliefs.” In my response, I disassociated myself from the views attributed to me and I explained how I addressed those very concerns in my article.
My critic’s reply: “Sorry. Didn’t read the full article. Saw the headline and flipped out.”
Two lessons to be learned from that experience:
- Writers: Pick your headlines carefully. The way you frame your message will significantly influence the way people respond to it.
- Readers: Read more than just the headlines. If you don’t have time to accurately and charitably engage someone’s work, refrain from writing criticisms until you do.
That’s today’s two cents.