Sunday, 6 April 2014

Bad news and text messages

There's never a good way to receive bad news.

But I have to say, I think a text is probably the worst.

It's so cold and clinical.  No room for human sentiment - unless you count a 'sad face' emoticon (which I don't - I'm personally not keen on emoticons, but that's a whole other story).

The recent case of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet highlighted the use of texts for delivering bad news.

I appreciate that they were probably in a no-win situation with this.

They needed to tell a lot of people, very quickly, that it had to be assumed 'beyond reasonable doubt' that the plane was lost with no survivors.

Individual phone calls to each family would have taken quite a lot of time, and in this social media age it would have been all over Twitter in a nanosecond once the first few calls were made.

But to send a text message just seems wrong.

It's people's lives we're talking about here - mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, grandchildren, grandparents.

The families were probably expecting the worst, but still hoping for the best.

A text message is just too impersonal to deliver such devastating news.

My thoughts are with those families affected, it's truly tragic.

However, can I also say that I think this case has raised some interesting points.

Who would have thought that a plane could go missing in this modern age where we thought everything was trackable, traceable, no place to hide?

Why did it happen?  Could it happen again?  How can we make sure it doesn't?

Finally, how can we ensure that families are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve in the event of such a disaster occurring again?

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