A Picture Is Worth One Million Hits

Never underestimate the power of emotion in communication, as I've written here before

But never guestimate which emotions you might stir either. 

Take this photo of New York City Officer Lawrence DePrimo offering a new pair of boots to a homeless man, for example. 

The "heartwarming" image, posted on the NYPD's Facebook page on Tuesday, attracted 1.6 million page views in only two days, according to this NYTimes.com story

I put heartwarming in quotes because not everyone sees it that way. In fact, here's just a small sample of comments I found on REDDIT this morning:

— "... sounds like a PR stunt to me."

— "Have the feeling these shoes will be sold quickly, and he'll be barefoot again... "

— "And then 5 of his colleages [sic] came to taser him to death."

— "Swopped [sic] for drugs/alcohol/cigarettes 10 minutes later."

— "[He] is nearly always shoeless... gets him the big bucks from the tourists." 

Sure, there are peabrains on every comment board. But there are underlying emotions—about the police and homeless individuals—that are being expressed here, too.

Your communications are constantly being filtered by those emotions, often distorting them like a circus mirror. Communications are in the mind of the beholder.