Good Day Class

I don’t know how he found the time to do it, but I’m glad he did. Today we have Lance of “Jungle Of Life” as our substitute teacher (guest writer).

As with his own posts, Lance will get you thinking with this one as well.

Without further ado, I give you Lance.

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“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” ~ Rudyard Kipling

Thank you, Barbara.

Welcome to today’s class here at BWAB University.

Students, please note: Even though we are talking about snowballs, there will be NO snowball fights going on during class!

Today’s Lesson

Our words, they are indeed powerful. Today, we’ll be discussing the wide-ranging effect these words can have, and how this may or may not change how we write.

We blog.

We comment.

We share photos.

We Twitter. We Facebook. We email.

We connect via the telephone.

We meet in person.

(and probably a myriad of other ways)

The Snowball Effect: is a figurative term for a process that starts from an initial state of small significance and builds upon itself, becoming larger (graver, more serious), and perhaps potentially dangerous or disastrous (a vicious circle, a “spiral of decline”), though it might be beneficial instead (a virtuous circle). Source: Wikipedia

What we each do here on the World Wide Web has the potential to take on this snowball effect. Our words, our voices – they are not islands unto themselves. There are no walls that keep these words within a confined space. They become more like that note in a bottle, dropped into the sea. Drifting maybe to be viewed only by an island just off shore, or drifting maybe to be viewed many times the world over. And we never really know exactly where these words of ours have traveled.

Writing here on the Internet – our words can travel to faraway lands.

Our voice is heard, and our reach is wide – for each and every one of us. We can’t really tell how far our words may travel, and to whom they might touch in some significant way.

Like a snowball, growing bigger and bigger as it moves on – so too our words move on to a larger and larger group of people hearing them. Some move and grow faster than others. The point, though, is that when we put something out there on this social web, we really don’t know how large the audience base seeing that message will grow to be. Or where it may travel.

Today’s Assignment
The words we say can snowball into something greater (in a good or a bad way). And that’s in all our interactions on this web we call the Internet, a web we’ve all become a part of.

Does this thought change how or what you write?

Do you think about what you write and how it might portray you? Does it matter?

Do you care how your words might affect someone else reading them? Does that matter?


lance_1.jpegWhen Lance isn’t on his blog, Jungle of Life, you can find him making the rounds in blogosphere, leaving meaningful comments on dozens of blogs or tweeting on Twitter. Check out his blog, check out his archives, check out his tweets. You’ll be happy you did.


Photo Credit:House Of Sims

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Look Who's Talking
  1. Hi Barbara, you have a great guest teacher today!

    Lance, I love the fact that you’re asking us to take a big picture view of the impact of our blogging. Sometimes I do a search and find posts written years ago. So what we write today may be read only years later, and it takes faith to believe that it matters. So the snowball may grow and like you said, roll to places we never imagine and also last longer than we think at first!

    Daphne @ Joyful Days´s last blog post..How To Find Happiness in 5 Minutes

  2. […] Swafford.  She’s out today, and I’m the substitute.  Stop on over as we discuss The Snowball Effect of the Social Web.  And not to worry, no one will sent to the principal’s office for being […]

  3. RupalNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks for bringing me to this site Lance!

    I totally think about what I write and how it will be portrayed to my audience. Does this portray a sense of helping? Will someone remember this and apply it? Is what I’m saying something someone will be able to relate to?

    The best bloggers and writers reflect on their audience (or so I have noticed)..I like to take away what I can from others..That has got to be my favorite thing about the web..the vast array of people, mind and thoughts out there are at my fingertips!

    Thanks for this! Happy Friday

    Rupal´s last blog post..Here’s the mic, now go be a rock-sta’!

  4. LanceNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – A big thank you to you for extending to me this opportunity to be here today! I’m looking forward to the responses, and to learning along with your many readers.

    Hi Daphne – Thank you! And…I’d say we have an awesome student here already this morning – it’s great to see you Daphne! It can be easy to think we’re writing within a confined space – especially starting out, when we’re not getting lots of visitors. Yet, all this we put out there becomes searchable, Googled, and possibly found months or years down the road. And that leads me to question – is what I’m writing today something I’d want associated with me not only today – but years down the road.

    Lance´s last blog post..It’s Time For Class

  5. ScottNo Gravatar says:

    If it changes how or what I write, it only changes the fact that if I’m referring to someone that I’ve met through my journey, I will most likely not use their name. Not even a first name because several people that I’ve been around all my life read my blog. That all depends on the situation that I’m writing about.

    For someone who doesn’t really worry about what folks think of me, I sure spend a lot of time in writing worrying about what folks think of me.

    Yes I do care how my words might affect whomever reads them. For what I write about, yeah I think it matters a lot.

    Great thoughts, Lance! And yeah, I’ll probably be thinking a lot about this today. Thoughts are forming even now.

    Scott´s last blog post..Excitement! Tension! Deflation! Depression! Devil! Duh!

  6. Lance, I love the thought of a virtuous snowball of good building and collecting others in its wake. These excellent questions were easy to answer and inspiring as well. Thanks buddy, I hadn’t put it all together before pondering your excellent queries.

    “Does this thought change how or what you write?”
    Nope, I most often write to one person, a client, a reader, someone who has shared a real issue. I’m writing to inspire or encourage that person. The exception is when I’m spilling over with enthusiasm and I simply must share that excitement. Then I simply let the passion do the writing.

    “Do you think about what you write and how it might portray you? Does it matter?”
    Every once in a while when I share a scary truth, I momentarily hesitate and then write it anyway. It really doesn’t matter because everyone who reads what I write will read it and portray me from their own perspective. Their opinion of me and what I write is really none of my business. That’s all on them.

    “Do you care how your words might affect someone else reading them? Does that matter?”
    Damn right I care. I live to inspire and to encourage. That’s why I blog. That’s why I coach. Without that expression I am not being who I am. It matters to me that my writing lifts folks. That’s enough.

    Tom Volkar / Delightful Work´s last blog post..How To Create and Complete By Using Strategies

  7. Hi Barbara *waves*, thanks for hosting Lance today.

    Good analogy, Lance. I think our blogs have a snowball effect. I just recently put a linkwithin widget on my blog, which brings up old posts, and I realize that something I wrote months ago could still make an impact on the overall impression others take away from reading my blog.

    I constantly think about how my writing will be perceived by others, but it seems that the ones that are less self-conscious, the posts I write on the fly and don’t really write in terms of what others might think come off better/easier.

    Jewel/Pink Ink´s last blog post..Busy Bee

  8. Evelyn LimNo Gravatar says:

    Yes, I definitely am concerned about the words that I use on my site or even when I do blog commenting. I would hope that my words will inspire, motivate and teach. Hopefully, years down the road even when I am long gone, my daughters can come upon the articles I have written and feel my presence.

    Evelyn Lim´s last blog post..Cultivate Positive Money Beliefs By Busting 10 Myths

  9. Lance –

    These are truly the words of someone who has obviously “been there and bought the t-shirt”.

    I’m in the middle of a snowball effect blog post right now. Little did I know that my rant would turn into a lightning rod for an industry I know little about – but it has.

    Has the snowball experience affected the way I blog? Most certainly! Has it affected how often I blog? No.

    I think what’s most important to realize is that as a blogger – you never know WHICH post is going to grab attention like this. It’s kind of like a professional photographer. The professional photographer doesn’t take a single photo – he/she takes hundreds and finds the “magical shot” as one amongst the hundreds.

    As bloggers – we post hundreds of posts. It’s been my experience that the ones I like best aren’t the ones the WORLD likes the best or even the ones GOOGLE likes best. But that’s the beauty of community – isn’t it?

    Kathy | Virtual Impax´s last blog post..An Open Letter to a Desperate Business : You’ve officially lost my trust and therefore my business!

  10. J.D. MeierNo Gravatar says:

    I really like your metaphors … message in a bottle and the snowball effect.

    I think there’s a related metaphor too … buried treasure. I’m surprised how many gems I stumble across over time … without a map … and no X to mark the spot.

    I think our social networks help find buried treasure.

    J.D. Meier´s last blog post..Win the Heart the Mind Follows

  11. LisaNewtonNo Gravatar says:

    Wow, Lance, from Travelin’ Local to Blogging without a Blog. I’m lovin’ it.

    I do think about the snowball effect. I always consider my readers when I write. One of the reasons I write is to hopefully engage the reader, get them thinking, and maybe spark an idea.

    Years from now, when LA is different, I hope my blog stands for what it is now, a fantastic place to live, work, and play.

    LisaNewton´s last blog post..Macarthur Park is going to the Birds

  12. LindaNo Gravatar says:

    We all write to have a snowball effect on how our blogs will get exposed to the world. In most cases, we hope for a blizzard so that we will be read by the masses.

    The same effect is what most marketers are trying to achieve. So, what you put into the universe, positive or negative, will have an impact.

    Yes, I am concerned on the words that are written on my blog are positive. There may be negatives to get to the positives but the end result is positive.

    Linda´s last blog post..The Aquaduct

  13. Writer DadNo Gravatar says:

    Hi, Lance! It’s always nice to see you.

    The snowball effect absolutely has an impact on the way I write online. My general rule is that I would never write anything online that I wouldn’t be entirely comfortable with my children reading. Now, this doesn’t mean I don’t speak slightly different in emails or over the phone, but I do consider the internet public grounds, and just as when I am in public, I believe it’s important to govern myself with manners.

    Writer Dad´s last blog post..An Ode to My Daughter

  14. LingNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara and Lance. I think most bloggers are hoping secretly, or openly, that their words and actions will snowball into something big. And of course it affects the way you write – People tend to sensationalise things and make a big deal out of small matters. I do think about what I write, and how others will see it, but that part mostly come after I publish and start regretting it. I would definitely like it if my writing helped someone, but I don’t hold out big hopes that this happens a lot. Most of it is just for fun and entertainment.

  15. You are asking powerful questions today. Knowing my words are on a journey does impact what and how I write. I write to share my message about taking time for yourself in hopes that my words will find the right people at the right time. I hope my words portray a source of light and support. And yes, I think it is important how my words are portrayed. I’d like my words to have a coaching/coachee tone versus a doctor/patient tone. I share my words to encourage others to find their natural inner wisdom, not to prescribe one size fits all solutions.

    Stacey / Create a Balance´s last blog post..Authentic Happiness Series – Part One

  16. brandiNo Gravatar says:

    lance-great topic!

    this really hit home for me today because I realized that often, I tend to automatically think that things will snowball in the bad way (increasingly build upon a negative).

    as I started my photography business and have gotten really good leads, this article made me realize that I can choose to see those great (but small) starts can build into somethign wonderful!! MY CHOICE IN PERSPECTIVE DETERMINES WHETHER THIS SNOWBALLS INTO A WONDERFUL WHITE BEAUTIFUL SNOWBALL OF GOODNESS OR A YUCKY SLUSHY GREY SNOWBALL OF YUCK.

    YUH!!!!

    as for does this effect influence how I present myself on the web-absolutely. I realized a long time ago that if anyone was reading (and this was when no one really was-at least that I knew of), I wanted to be a positive presence. I choose to focus on my blog on the lessons of my life, sure, and the reality of it but not in a way that was snarky, derisive or negative. I wanted to focus on teh joy, the positive learnings and the connections.

    and so that’s what I continue to do.

    brandi´s last blog post..good things.

  17. Yes, I do care about what people would feel about what I write, because I want to uplift people and still instill realism, that hard, honest, well managed work does lead to success, even if you have to try and try again

    Miguel de Luis´s last blog post..A favorite movie: December Boys

  18. LaurieNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Lance!
    Great questions here. One thing I have wondered about is “Does having a blog, change what you say in the comment section of other people’s blogs?”

    I have no blog so my interaction on blogs doesn’t affect any blog traffic or income I might have. Because of this, I feel free to say what is on my mind, even if it is a bit controversial. I wonder how many bloggers out there make “PC” comments to coerce others to their blog, to increase their own traffic to make money somehow. I wonder how many people who are crying out to be authentic but really are hiding behind a blog mask. What an oximoron that is!

    Yes I do think words matter. Why harm others when we can nurture and care for others? I love a controversial discussion but I make sure that I am discussing the issue and not assassinating the person I am talking to. Big difference.

  19. Petra NorrisNo Gravatar says:

    Lance – I always draft, analyze and sometimes rewrite my blog before I click the submit key.
    I’m asking myself:
    Who are the folks I’m writing to?
    What is the message I’m sending?
    Is there value in my blog?

    It surely does matter how I write and what I write about. The most important aspect of writing is that you while writing about a subject, that you stay on the subject.

    Petra Norris´s last blog post..Lakeland Florida Entertainment of the Week – Harrison School for the Arts

  20. CarolineNo Gravatar says:

    You sure have been getting around blog land lately…lol.

    I am very careful of what I put out there! This wisdom has come with age… I was reckless when I was younger…just opening my mouth or writing something without thinking. It got me in some trouble. So I think before I speak or press enter. It is amazing how things get mis-interpreted (especially in cyber land). I want my blog to be a place that people want to visit. I don’t write about controversy or give rigid opinions. I think once you go down that road, you need a very thick skin… And yes, good point about who reads our blogs…it’s important to remember that!

    Great post Lance!

    Caroline´s last blog post..Favorite “Foto” Friday

  21. LanceNo Gravatar says:

    @Rupal – Hi Rupal! Great to see you here! That’s a great point – about reflecting on the audience of the visitors. We each write what is uniquely us – and part of that is that we attract people that connect with that writing style. And that’s not to say that one writing style is better than another – it’s just different – and that really is a great thing about all the different writing out there – one particular style may help to drive home a point better for one person over another – and that’s ok.

    @Scott – Hi Scott. I think our written words feel more permanent than spoken words. And as such, for me anyway, I find I go over and check my wording – is the point I’m trying to get across really what is coming across when I re-read it. I think it’s important because one or two inadvertent words could potentially change the meaning of what we’re trying to say. And what people think of us and what we’ve said…

    @Tom Volkar – Hi Tom. Yep, that snowball, just getting bigger and bigger! The scary truths – yep they definitely make me stop and think too. I probably stop longer than you do!! Perspective is a great thought here – and something we can’t necessarily control. So, while what we say may sound “good” to us – we have no way of knowing for sure how others will read it. Tom, when I think of you – I think of bold and inspiring – so you’re getting that point across!

    @Jewel – Hi Jewel! That’s it – we could have written something long ago – and people could still find that today. Even if we’ve removed it from our site, there’s no guarantee that someone didn’t copy it off – once it’s out there – it becomes pretty hard to know for sure where it’s ended up. Or will end up.

    @Evelyn – Hi Evelyn. That’s very touching Evelyn – thinking about how what you write today might have meaning for your children years down the road. And it’s not just on our own blogs, it’s anywhere that can be linked back to us – comments, Facebook, etc. That you take this seriously is portrayed in your writing – you’re doing this very well Evelyn…

    @Kathy|Virtual Impax – Hi Kathy! So you’re experiencing this first-hand – that sometimes what we say can take on a life of it’s own. I hope this all works out well for you. I like your thought about how what we may like of our own writing may not always be what the “world” likes – that’s an important point I think. We write many things – and really have no idea what will illicit a real response sometimes – because just because we think something is “good” or “bad” or “whatever” – doesn’t mean that’s what others will think.

    @J.D. – I like the buried treasure metaphor! Every once in a while we stumble upon something that is a buried gem – and has been undiscovered. And when we share thos gems with the world – what a great way to help the person who wrote that gem!

    @LisaNewton – It’s a travel week for me! And it’s been great – look at the fine places I’ve been hanging out at! We write and share what we write for a reason – to get the reader thinking, spark an idea, etc. I like what you’re doing Lisa, sharing your neighborhood and surrounding community – you’ve got a great snowball building there!

    @Linda – A snowball effect so that our words spread to many – yes – we’re writing and sharing for a reason. And if we’re sharing our words – we do want readers! The blizzard – that’s a great way to look at it. The idea of negative and positive thoughts is a good one – what is the message we’re leaving the reader? Are they getting the message we’re intending to get across? Good points to consider…

    @Writer Dad – Hi Sean, it’s great to see you! As a parent, I can relate to the thoughts about what I write and who may someday read those words – my kids! Would I be okay with them reading those words? Definitely a thought I have too. In more one-on-one conversations, we can and do change our behaviors – I think we all do this to some degree. And that’s fine – we’re usually in a position of dealing with someone we know how we can talk to them – and we become more relaxed. Great point…

    @Ling – Hi Ling! Having our words grow into something big – like a great big snowball – is like making it big! We can all write for different reasons – some write to entertain, some to inform, some to be scary, etc. It’s all good – the thing is whether that’s the image you want to come across with. So, if your writing is fun and entertaining – that’s all good. And if it happens to help someone, even better!

    @Stacey/Create A Balance – Hi Stacey! Yes, our words are on a journey, just like we are – I love that! And maybe now isn’t the right time for some people with the message we’re sharing. Yet, if our words remain – then someone could find these same words months or years down the road – and that could be just the right time. The idea of tone – excellent point Stacey – what is the tone that is coming across? And is that the tone we want? I happen to think you do a great job having your words come out the way you’ve described here – encouraging and supportive!

    @Brandi – Hi Brandi! You know what’s interesting is that in looking at the meaning, above, of the ‘snowball effect’ – it starts our with the negative angle, and only pulls in the positive right at the end. That jumped out at me as I was writing this. Because I WAS looking at the snowball effect from both angles, yet my first thought was from a more positive angle. So, it seems that when we think of a snowball effect, it’s more typical to do this with the negative. And your photography business – small snowballs WILL grow into bigger ones as you keep rolling them around – as you keep getting yourself out there – and that’s exciting! And for writing – yes, who knows who might someday stumble upon one of those early posts of ours that had little or no traffic… Keep doing it Brandi – spreading joy is what I think of when I think of you…

    @Miguel – Hi Miguel. Caring. That’s another great point. Do we “care”, really “care” about what we wirte and how those words affect others. If we take that seriously (even if what we write isn’t serious) then we will be doing what feels right – today and well into the future….

    @Laurie – Hi Laurie! That’s a great question. I think it can affect what we say in the comments section – if we have a blog – will what we say in the comments affect traffic to our site, or how people perceive us at our own site. And how do we really know if what someone is saying is authentic? Really, that can be hard to gauge unless we continue to visit for long periods of time. Hiding behind a blog mask – that could be easy to do. Do we? Do I? I hope I don’t… Yet, I wonder if I may change my remarks slightly because they all track back to my own site? Something well worth thinking about. Laurie, you’re asking the tough questions today – and that’s good – it’s good to think about this – and what are we really saying (or not saying)…

    @Petra – Hi Petra! You take this very seriously, and I think that’s great. It shows you care about the message you’re sharing, and what meaning it will have for your readers. Thanks for sharing how you do this – it all shows great dedication to your readers…

    Lance´s last blog post..It’s Time For Class

  22. CricketNo Gravatar says:

    Hey Barbara.

    Hey Lance.

    Wow…what a place to begin on my first day back on my blog since January. (Not counting my picture blog)….

    Let me begin with this. Blogging is different to each person. Some blog to promote numbers, to make money…others blog to make friends and build relationships….others blog to be a “teacher” of sorts of those that blog…and the list does go on and on.

    The question is and should be answered differently by each of us. I have read every comment above and I see this with every word that is written. I can instantly feel those in which I would love to meet and those that I feel are not about where I am in my life. That is the beauty of blogging. We each have choices.

    For me…it is about personal growth. I am about truth and everything that I read I want to be honest. I, in turn, give the same. My heart became out of touch with blogging. I was a bit down and I did not want my readers to be down after reading what I was writing. It was time for the break. So, with that being said I would have to say I do care what I write and I do care what my reader takes away. I can say that I don’t care if they don’t agree with me because I am not willing to change myself in order to gain numbers.

    You have been with me on a journey. Barbara has also seen my past with blogging. I am happy to know that the two of you are still around and the same. I feel as if neither of you have ventured out of the person that you want to be. You have remained honest and steadfast. You both are huge examples to the blog world that honesty is worth the pay off in the end.

    Great post Lance!

    Cricket´s last blog post..Dear me…

  23. ~bethNo Gravatar says:

    Since joining the grand blogosphere I have witnessed many a word snowball reach a size of epic proportions. I’m one of those personal bloggers who did it for me. I never expected to have an audience or a following and, yet, it happened.

    Has realizing my words are snowballing changed how or what I write? Not really. I’ve been very aware of the power of words from an early age. Perhaps, subconsciously, I remember that while I am writing.

    Do you think about what you write and how it might portray you? I think the portrait I paint of myself through blogging is slightly more accurate than how I often appear in person. It is real. Words are tangible. Does it matter? You know what? I am who I am. There are those who are drawn to me. There are those who are not. I’m not offended by those who are not.

    Do you care how your words might affect someone else reading them? Yes and no. I tend to be brutally honest with myself and with others. Sometimes people take offense when it is not intended. I do care when that happens. The subject matter also makes a difference … as does the venue. My blog reaches a larger audience so I do care about how someone who doesn’t know me personally will interpret the things I share.

    ~beth´s last blog post..Lamentations

  24. I don’t know if it’s good or bad, but I don’t really think about it. I am just being myself – on my blog and when I comment elsewhere – so it feels very natural to just speak my mind as I would do in real life, without worrying too much about how it would come across.

    Vered – MomGrind´s last blog post..Lipo Dissolve Nightmare: A Cosmetic Procedure Gone Wrong

  25. Hi Lance – Why would someone make a colossal effort to write and post in a venue that saves his/her words for all posterity, and not care what people think? Those who doth protest too much care very much, methinks!

    Perhaps it’s just the sort of blogs I frequent these days, but I believe civility is more highly valued. We’ve collectively learned some hard lessons about cyber-bullying, online exhibitionism of all sorts, and “reality” as it’s mixed online. Maintaining authenticity and accessing the good in each other and within is an easier task than mustering negativity. Great post, Lance. Congratulations to you on all your recent activities, and to Barbara for snagging you!

    Betsy Wuebker´s last blog post..ADVENTURES IN CUSTOMER SERVICE – BEST BUY EMBRACES THE SUCK

  26. Linda AbbitNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Teach,

    Nice to have you as our sub, Lance, and a big Hello to Professor Barbara, too!

    I am extremely conscious of the words I use in my blog and in comments I make around the blogosphere — as well as the words I use in person, too. I think as I’ve gotten older I’ve become much more aware of how powerful all words are.

    Your post brought up a question and I’m hoping you can shed some light on it. I thought I’d read that our tweets are Google-able. Are they? Are our Stumble Upon reviews? When I Google things, I know I’ve seen Facebook and LinkedIn links’s come up for people, but I don’t recall seeing tweets listed in the search engine listings. Maybe I’ve missed something.

    Can you help explain this part of the social media avalanche to me?

    P.S. I do miss snowball fights in sunny California!

    Linda Abbit´s last blog post..Funny Fridays for March Madness: Because It’s Better to Laugh than to Cry!

  27. Your post reminds me of one I did a while back called How Your Time Online Can Benefit Many. That post illustrates how one small action can “snowball” across Social Networking sites and other blogs and end up reaching an enormous audience.

    Since it is so relevant to this post I’ll share the link in the main URL for this comment (above) since it is too old for CommentLuv to pick up.

    Internet Strategist´s last blog post..REVIEW: Mastering Google Analytics – Easy to Understand FREE eCourse

  28. MarelisaNo Gravatar says:

    This is very interesting. I was just reading on CNN that Obama made a remark on the Jay Leno show that he was really bad at bowling and that the bowling lanes in the White House were like the Special Olympics. Right after the show he had to start calling people to apoligize for his remarks since people might consider them to be insulting to people with special needs.

    You’re right that as bloggers our words can have far reaching effects we can’t even begin to imagine, so we have to be very careful with what we write.

  29. PatriciaNo Gravatar says:

    Lance good lesson and I too like your metaphors – we are having a strange spring day with wind and snow and rain and then glorious sunshine – I think it is a bit like the web and blogging!

    I have the Golden Rule stuck to my wall right a top my monitor…I still myself before I begin writing and then after the first draft, I take a break…..read the Golden Rule and then proceed to edit.
    I also attempt to not submit a post until it is at least a day old and re-edited. (Doesn’t always work this nicely, but it is in my plan)

    I want to leave the world a better place because I have been here.

    Patricia´s last blog post..Announcing a Writing Contest – With a Financial Incentive!

  30. Lisa's ChaosNo Gravatar says:

    So true, so true. I am constantly amazed at how we befriend each other through our blogs, miles making not a difference at all. 🙂

    Snowball, hmmm, well I met Lance through another Lisa and now Lance has me meeting you here. 🙂

    Lisa’s Chaos´s last blog post..Dog Sledding

  31. Dr. NicoleNo Gravatar says:

    What a great inspiring post Lance. ..if not terrifying! lol

    I love that I can share my message but the more and more people it reaches the more diverse opinions I encounter and that can be really tough at times especially when you are in a very controversial field.

    Dr. Nicole´s last blog post..Scientists Urging Obama to End Natural Medicine Research?

  32. Hi Lance – This is an interesting topic. As a blogger, I really don’t know who is reading my blog unless that person leaves a comment or contacts me in some other way. When I am writing in a situation where I really don’t know who is reading it, I find that being authentic in my writing/ideas is really important. These people don’t know me and the only thing they see is my writing, so for me, writing in my own unique voice is the best way I can think of to use/deal with the Snowball Effect. If I’m sending my article out onto the web, not knowing where it might go, I want it to best represent who I am. Hope the class wasn’t too rowdy today 😉 – thanks!

    Amanda Linehan´s last blog post..Self Awareness Around The Web

  33. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    First, to everyone who has, or will respond to this post, I personally want to thank you for giving Lance such a warm welcome and for sharing such valuable comments. That means a lot to me, and having known Lance for quite sometime now, I know I also speak for him. He’s a real sweetheart, isn’t he?

    Hi Professor Lance,

    You’re doing a great job and the “students” are well behaved today. No spit balls, no paper airplanes, and no detention. WooHoo!

    This topic really touches my heart. Words are SO powerful, and the misuse of a single word can totally change the meaning of a sentence.

    For example, years ago I was on a committee to write an employee manual. We learned how the difference between “will be” and “may be” could totally change the sentence of “You may/will be terminated if…”. Because there are always extenuating circumstances, nothing definite was written in stone.

    Whether I’m blogging, commenting, or speaking in real life, I am very concerned with how I word things. A simple sentence, worded wrong can hurt, and if children are involved, those words can affect them for the rest of their lives.

    As for how words can portray us. In cyberspace that’s all we have for others to “judge us” by. With that said, I hope my words reflect who I truly am.

    Barbara

  34. LanceNo Gravatar says:

    @Caroline – Hi Caroline! It’s been a traveling week for me!! Yes, good point – as we get wiser we might be thinking more about what the words we say might mean to someone else. That’s good. Because our words have an effect on others. And yes – sometimes what we say can be mis-interpreted. In offline life – if that’s the case, we may know about it right away and be able to fix it. In the online world, we may never know who or how our words affect others. Good things to think about…

    @Cricket – Hi Tammy! It’s great to see you here today! You make an excellent point – we each write for different reasons – and that also can dictate what may end up being written. Are you looking to invoke controversy? Are you looking to connect with others? How you answer questions like this determines how you might write. And it is about what feels right for us, individually. I appreciate you comment very much Tammy. It’s a journey for all of us. Part of that journey is in sharing other’s journey’s along the way. Whatever that may be. What you say here, Tammy, is exactly what I see in your writing. You are true to all of this – and for that it really has been an honor to have been a part of this journey you’ve been on…

    @Beth – Hi Beth. You’ve touched upon a number of things. What’s jumping out at me is the idea of awareness. Being aware, while it may not change how we write – it may make us think about perhaps how we word something, or what the meaning could be construed as. And the idea of being real – words ARE real – and maybe sometimes it’s easier to express in words what is real from the inside – things that maybe are harder to verbally express sometimes. Great thoughts on this Beth, thanks much!

    @Vered – Well, that’s an interesting perspective Vered. I think this shows that you’re very comfortable in your own skin. And that you’re okay with how you’re writing may be viewed by others. And I think this is neither good or bad. It just is. And it’s you being yourself – which really, what better way to portray ‘you’.

    @Betsy – Hi Betsy. Great point you make – if I’m writing, I DO care. I care about what I’m saying, and I do hope that my words have meaning. I value civility also – and believe that this can be done while either agreeing or disagreeing with what someone has written. And doing this, I believe, also shows great character. Thank you Betsy. And really – I’m the lucky one for Barbara snagging me – she’s a real gem out here in cyberland!

    @Linda Abbit – Hi there Linda, I see you’ve taken a seat in the front row! Age and the wisdom we garner as we get older – do have a way of making us realize just how powerful our words can be – in both positive and negative ways. To your question about tweets and Stumbleupon reviews being indexed by Google – I believe they are, although I’m not 100% sure. Upon a bit of searching, I was able to pull some up. If anyone else knows for sure, please share. Social media sites like Stumbleupon, Facebook, Twitter, Digg, etc – all are ways for people to be directed toward information that they are interested in. I see this typically being done directly through these sites (or derivatives of them) – and less through Google or some other generic search engine. My belief in this all is that people use the different social media outlets directly as a way to be directed toward information that is pertinent to them – more on a high level and general perspective (i.e. interest in the field of personal development). And…our snow is all gone now – no more snowball fights here until next winter (or maybe I’m just being optimisic!!). If we get a late spring snowstorm – I’ll try to toss one your way!

    @Internet Strategist – That’s right, small actions can snowball – and we never know when this might happen with something we write. If we write something that catches on with one of the social media outlets – all of a sudden, our words are reaching a much bigger audience. I’ll check your link out – sounds like it fits well with this today – thanks much!

    @Marelisa – Hi Mare! This is a great example of how the words we say can be taken in different ways. What might be funny to some, could be considered offensive to others – even what seems like a fairly innocous remark. We never know where our words may travel to, or who may read them – and that makes for interesting thought on what and how we write. Thanks for sharing this, Mare – it fits so well with the discussion going on.

    @Patricia – I love your comparison of the changing weather to this world wide web we’re a part of! It’s possible that what we say could invoke a storm of anger, or a big ray of sunshine – or something in between. Especially if we don’t pay attention to what we’re saying. Your Golden Rule example is really a great one – coupled with the idea of letting a post sit for a day before posting it – giving you time to make sure it’s saying what you want. That really sounds like a great idea! Now…if I could just get things done faster… Thanks Patricia, this was full of some great advice for all of us!

    @Lisa’s Chaos – Hi Lisa, it’s great to see you again!! Great point – friendships can develop just from the words we write – distance doesn’t matter. And, I LIKE your snowball analogy – and how we end up where we do on the wide wide web – and the way our own snowball rolls along the way… Snowballs…something we both know a bit about, eh!

    @Dr. Nicole – Hi Dr. Nicole! I hadn’t thought about “terrifying” until you mentioned it – and it’s a great point. The more people we interact with, and even more, the people we aren’t aware of that read our words – the more likely we are to somehow offend someone, or have our words taken in a context we hadn’t intended. And especially when you’re dealing in a field that can be controversial, this becomes even more important (and possibly a bit terrifying). I guess we can do our best – and really realize that we’ll never please everyone all the time. Thanks for stopping over today – and for this thought – it’s a great addition to everything that’s been said so far.

    @Amanda – Hi Amanda. That’s it – many may read and not comment. And that’s perfectly okay. The thing is, we may never know how our words may have affected these people. Being authentic – if we do that – then we’re doing and saying what truly matters. So, we do the best we can – and try to craft our words so as to be like we are. And – no, the class hasn’t been rowdy at all today! Wait! Who hid all the erasers! Amanda?

    @Barbara – It’s great being here today Barbara – your “students” are the best! As are you!! You bring up a great point about how one small word can change the meaning of a sentence. And how easy is it for us to put in a word that’s not quite right. Will it be taken the wrong way? Maybe. Maybe not. It really depends on the situation, and who is reading it. But since it could be taken the wrong way – it’s worth reading it over with a critical eye. And look for anything which might jump out as potentially hurtful. Giving others our best through our words is powerfulf. Barbara, you come across as caring and kind here on this world wide web – and I can only imagine that’s exactly how you are in real life too. Thanks again for this opportunity to be here today, and to both share and learn from all these great comments!

    Lance´s last blog post..It’s Time For Class

  35. Robin EastonNo Gravatar says:

    I’m not sure why but this moved me to tears. I think only you, Lance, could shed such human light on something such as the internet or web. Yes, it is web that we all create. So what we say and do affects the whole. Just with a real spider’s web, when something hits one of the strands of web the spider feels it way on the other side of the web. It so beautiful for me to look at the web in this holistic way through your eyes. As a force or tool for great positive power. It is your vision that moved me to tears. You my dear friend bring such goodness to this world of the ethers. For all it’s faults, I have experienced the web in this magical beautiful way also….due to you and people like you. Although there really is no one “like” you. You are gifted and so unique. Many hugs, Robin

    Robin Easton´s last blog post..Being True: are you?

  36. When I write I want the snowballs to slam into peoples faces. But in a good way.

    I want my writing to make them think, give them a valuable insight, or make them laugh.

    But whatever it does, I want it to do so with vigor.

    Bamboo Forest – PunIntended´s last blog post..The Art of Artery Clogging: A Recipe

  37. LizwiNo Gravatar says:

    Sometimes we may speak or write without thinking about the impact our words can make to other people’s lives and we may not be aware of the size of our audience, especially in the internet. Thanks for reminding us of the importance of thinking carefully before you write or say something.

    Lizwi´s last blog post..Swich off the lights

  38. Lance,

    Many of my friends began telling me years ago that I had so many stories that needed to be shared which let to me writing my book.

    When I did emails began pouring in due to the impact it had on lives of the readers. One that stands out was from someone who had cancer. She said I inspired her to return to work and feel like she could climb any mountain.

    I have the book on my website as a free ebook so my words can continue to inspire others.

    Tess The Bold Life´s last blog post..Are You Bold Enough To Forgive Yourself & Others?

  39. Yes, I pay a lot of attention to my words. Many of my words are never spoken or published, only said for me, due to the potential nature of hurt they could cause.

    That said, I also choose wisely in an effort to really help people. And it is the most brilliant feeling in the whole world.

    I have spent a lot of time in the last three years paying attention to my communication skills both verbally and written. It has been a hard journey. Many a-ha moments of how ineffective I have been for so much of my life. I was never taught “communication skills” and the effect our words have on others whether we realize it or not.

    The way we communicate is such a critical part of our lives and one that is often overlooked. Thanks for bringing it to the forefront!

  40. Yes, writing a blog changes what I write, as in what all do I include that’s of interest to another? My pen goes on sometimes without my bidding, jotting fast as my mind whirls. From that I pick out what might make sense to a reader who doesn’t know me or care to wander freely about in my mind’s musings.

    I’m slow to post — a couple posts weekly seems to work for me — mainly because of my process. I write. Put it down and go paint something. Come back and read it cold, as a reader instead of a writer. Is there anything of value there? Anything that goes bumpas I read it? Or is just filler? So I edit me.

    I care how the snowball gets packed. And how I throw it. Like Stacey above, my intention is to encourage and share, so I want the piece to go out in a way that the reader can catch it and do something with it.

    What a great discussion!!! And an equally great metaphor to wrap it around. Thanks.

    Barb Hartsook´s last blog post..What it Means to Me to be Named One of Liz Strauss’ Successful and Outstanding Bloggers

  41. RibbonNo Gravatar says:

    Hi… I like to think that I treat my readers with the same respect that I would treat any stranger on any given day. I do consider words, but I rarely worry about them.

    Once words leave you they take on a life beyond your control or your intention … in blogging world and in real life… I rarely spend time worrying about there journey.

    I like to share, but I’m not out to change peoples lives for better or worse……… I feel that that is entirely up to them.

    One of the aspects of the blogging world that I very much enjoy is its humaness……… & I like that old saying “that rules are made to be broken.”

    Lance I think that your blog is beautiful ………. this was a delightful post… thank you

    Best wishes Ribbon 🙂

    Ribbon´s last blog post..Six Word Saturday

  42. NaturalNo Gravatar says:

    and that’s what scares me a bit. not that i’m really putting anything out there, but at times, i talk too much and some things are better just left, assumed and unsaid.

    i think we forget how vast the web is and how permanent what we put out there can be. we think we live in our own little world and no one else will find what we have written. not true, just a matter of time. all the need to be more careful in what we say.

    Natural´s last blog post..E is for Episode

  43. LanceNo Gravatar says:

    @Robin Easton – Hi Robin! This thing we call the world wide web is made up of bits and bytes, and lots of hardware/software to run it all. It all seems so anti-septic. Yet, behind all of that, behind all the 0’s and 1’s – are humans. Interacting. This IS a web we create! Seeing this as holistic – what a wonderful way to view the web – and what a great way to truly feel connected. Through this medium – the Internet – we connect in very real ways. Robin, it is most certainly a pleasure to have had the privilege of “meeting” you these last several months – your gifts are many and wondrous!

    @Bamboo Forest – So…sometimes we need a snowball in the face to “wake up” to what’s around us. In a good way – a snowball like that every once in a while is good – if it makes you think and connect. Doing this with vigor – that’s a style – and one that fits you well.

    @Tess – What a gift to share with others, Tess! And how good that must have felt when you were hearing about the impact your writing was having! And just like writing here on the Internet, a book is lasting as well – and who knows who might be affected by this years down the road. What a great way to leave a legacy Tess! And that you have a free ebook of this same book available shows also the generosity that lives in your heart…

    @Stacey Shipman – Hi Stacey! You bring up an important point. Sometimes we’ll all think thoughts – that if spoken, could be hurtful. I know that I have. And it’s not that this is inherently bad, we all have emotions. That you’re able to separate these thoughts from what gets written or spoken is the sign of a person confident in herself. When we’re confident and believe in ourselves, we can see these emotions for what they are, and then move on. And if words must be spoken, then we can attempt to do this in the best possible way. Communication is something we all do, and do often. Not paying attention to “how” we communicate only works to cause undue conflicts and stress in our lives… Great thoughts Stacey!

    @Barb – This does sound like a great process you use Barb. Stepping away from what we write, and then coming back to it later – we may read it differently than when it was first written. Editing is an important step – especially in what we write that is permanent and available for others to read. Knowing you intention, being conscious of that as you write, is a great way to bring that out in your writing. How the snowball gets packed – I love that! What a great way to think of it – what are we putting into our snowball? Thanks for your great thoughts here Barb!

    @Natural – Do we say more than we should? Hmm…that’s another great point. When is enough…enough? There is a permanency to the web – and it is well for us to remember that. If we write on the Internet, our words WILL see other eyes. And where those words may travel, we will likely never know…

    Lance´s last blog post..It’s Time For Class

  44. Wow! You really struck a chord. I believe my words really do matter. I hope that they matter to other people.

    We are so lucky to be in this time able to create a Tribe (Seth Godin) and change this world for the better. I believe every passionate person should be blogging, podcasting or videocasting.

    All of us should feel obligated to make this world a better place.

    Karl Staib – Work Happy Now´s last blog post..You Are Awesome

  45. LanceNo Gravatar says:

    @Lizwi – That’s exactly it! It’s hard, if not impossible, to really grasp what that reach we have might be. What we say might be read/heard by many.

    @Ribbon – Hi Ribbon. I think consideration is the key point here. And if we have considered them, then there really should be little to worry about anyway. You’re right, we can’t control how people perceive those words, once they’ve left us and become public domain. Thanks for stopping by, and thank you as well for coming over here to Barbara’s place on the web – it’s a great place here!

    @Karl – I think your words come across with much sincerity, Karl. They do matter. Definitely! Blogging (or any of it’s derivatives) is a great way to share your passion with the world! It’s like a window which we fly out of and “meet” others from all over – pretty amazing! And yes – if we all worked to make the world even just a little better, our world woud be infinitely better off – just by small actions by many.

    Lance´s last blog post..It’s Time For Class

  46. avtcoachNo Gravatar says:

    I think that we do have to make sure that the words we are using is our real intention. One time, posted a phrase to clarify a point and one of my real friends read it and took the phrase in a whole different way than it was intended. Fortunally I was able to edit the phrase. Since then I make sure I meticulously preview my post to make sure that what I am saying is what I believe and that it is said in the way I intended. I do not “edit” my thoughts since there is a wide variety of points of view and it is my blog, but, I do edit my words.
    Secondly, it is a wild wide world and it is amazing how our posts spread throughout the world. I read a post who quoted you, then I read your post and now some of my readers read your blog faithfully. I have also had the unique experience of connecting with someone in another country who blogged with one person I know and knew in real life another. All without any knowledge of the other. I have also met someone who has the same birth date and year. There are many amazing surprises and experiences to be had from posting our words.

    avtcoach´s last blog post..This Very Moment: My Journey #1

  47. LanceNo Gravatar says:

    @Avtcoach – You’ve said it so well – it’s not our thoughts we’re looking to edit, it’s how we present those thoughts – our words. Our thoughts are what make us uniquely who we are – how we convey those thoughts – that’s where saying something slightly different can possibly change the whole meaning. And the idea of the web and how we’re connected – it really is a web! Going in many directions. Who knows what a comment or a post might trigger in someone else. Great thoughts, thank you!

    Lance´s last blog post..It’s Time For Class

  48. As Robin Easton writes above… “what we say and do affects the whole.”

    I do believe our words can influence the whole energy of the universe. And as my buddy Shay has as her e-mail tagline… always be kinder than necessary – you never know what someone may be struggling with.

    Jannie Funster´s last blog post..After May 10th

  49. TumblemooseNo Gravatar says:

    Alaska guy sez:

    I love snowballs!

    It is my intention with each blog post that it snowball. Not necessarily into huge traffic numbers or anything (though I wouldn’t complain) – I’d be happy if folks found what I’ve written helpful and pass it to others.

    My goal is to inspire folks to find their inner writer and take him or her for a nice long drive in the country.

    George

    Tumblemoose´s last blog post..Your writing is killing your writing

  50. LanceNo Gravatar says:

    @Jannie – Hi Jannie. Who know where are words may travel, and what effect they might have on someone. Who can have an effect on someone else. Etc. Etc. And now we are talking the “whole”. So, your buddy – she’s onto something with being kinder than necessary – that’s a great gift to give the world!

    @Tumblemoose – Hi George. Alaska and snow – I guess they go together very well! Great thoughts here. That big snowball doesn’t just have to be more visitors to your site. It can also be that our words help someone – and then they go out and do something good because of this. That’s a pretty great snowball! Thanks much George!

    Lance´s last blog post..Sunday Thought For The Day

  51. melanieNo Gravatar says:

    I am a bit late for class sorry.

    Does this thought change how or what you write? – I definately curb my tongue, language and opinions because of this.

    Do you think about what you write and how it might portray you? Does it matter? – If I write one thing that might deem me as a horrible person then the “whole ” person might be seen as horrible because people wont come back to find out I have other layers. So yes it matters, particularly in my field where I use blogging to network and increase knowledge and perhaps sales for my real life business.

    Do you care how your words might affect someone else reading them? Does that matter? – yes I care and it does matter. When I want to say things that I dont care what the repercussions are I go to my blog where its a free for all and nothing is held back. Of course that one is a secret but a girls gotta have a secret. I cant be all nice and polite all of the time:)

    Ok so my schoolwork is done, am I let off for being late?
    Cheers all!

    melanie´s last blog post..Sweet Job

  52. LanceNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Melanie – No “F”, I’m giving you an “A” for a great response!! You make an excellent point about how we could write something that may be taken as “horrible” – and someone could define us completely by that one thing. As opposed to just seeing it as one thing, it becomes our whole being. I think the key to having a second blog where you can feel completely free of repercussions has to be completely separated from your other connections – are they? If not completely separated, it’s possible someone could tie the two together. Something to think about – for all of us… Great additions to the discussion Melanie!

    Lance´s last blog post..Sunday Thought For The Day

  53. Lance – thank you so much for this post. I’m only sorry I’ve just found it.

    Tone… it’s very important to select words carefully when commenting on or writing blog posts. Folks can’t see your facial expressions or read your body language online (well, except for video, of course).

    I always try to take a beat… and think about what I’m writing before hitting send/submit.

    Kevin Sandridge´s last blog post..Real Estate SEO with Expert Joe Hall

  54. LanceNo Gravatar says:

    @Kevin – Hi Kevin, it’s great to have you here! Good point about how our facial expression or body language aren’t seen when we write – which begs to question, are you getting across the point you think you are – because your body language may change how words are perceived. And when that is not seen, you have no way of knowing how your words are taken. Thanks for the input here Kevin!

    Lance´s last blog post..Sunday Thought For The Day

  55. DayflyerNo Gravatar says:

    A thought provoking lesson, Lance,

    Yes, I do care about what I write and about how it is received. As you say, once it is written the nature of the web is such that you lose control of it.

    I don’t know who might read my post, or in what emotional state they may be at the time. As I’m writing about self development and relationships, amongst other things, I have a responsibility to be realistic and honest in my writing. And I wouldn’t want my readers to think of me as anything other than this.

    I explored the dangers of the permanence of the written word in this article a little while ago:
    http://facedestiny.com/blog/career/is-the-web-helping-your-employment-prospects/

    Dayflyer´s last blog post..5 Free or Low Cost Leisure Activities for Kids

  56. DotNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Lance,

    Thanks for this vivid reminder! Sometimes I’m so pushed for time that I often feel I’m done without even considering these ideas. But they’re very important, for my readers as much as for me.

    Dot´s last blog post..All About Chocolate