I recently watched this talk from WordCamp US 2016 by John Eckman, CEO of 10up. It’s only about 15 minutes long and definitely worth watching, whether or not you are involved in the WordPress community.

The Four Agreements are:

  1. Be Empeccable With Your Word
  2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
  3. Don’t Make Assumptions
  4. Always Do Your Best

As great of a community as it is, the closer you get to it the more of its warts you can also see, just like anything else. We’re still made up of humans who have egos, make mistakes, and are generally a mess at least some of the time. The phrase, “you never know what someone is going through” comes to mind and needs to be considered whenever someone is ranting or complaining about something.

These issues have a tendency to play out in a more extreme way online, where people feel more empowered and emboldened to express their negative thoughts in a more passive medium without considering the consequences. Just look at our current president for a prime example.

Luckily, notable members of the community are beginning to speak up about depression, impostor syndrome, and burnout.

The Thing About Words

Words are powerful because they convey thoughts, although they are also easily misinterpreted. Nonverbal communication plays a huge part in conveying feelings associated with words, which makes writing that much harder to use effectively.

As someone who loves the art of writing and has had a lifelong passion for the craft, it is equally sad and frustrating to see how language has declined in our society during my lifetime. We now favor emojis and acronyms over proper spelling and grammar for the sake of convenience. We value speed and efficiency over thoughtfulness, and I’m afraid that the entire concepts of nuance and  will soon be lost.

What I’m determined than ever to do is set a good example for my kids and try to contribute more respectfully and positively to the world around me.