Wicked Wednesday–Netiquette

Barb: Most of us have been working in the world of internet e-mail for twenty years now, but it does seem like every time we turn around, there’s something new to learn about how to behave in the ether.

How do you stay out of trouble with social media and on the net in general? Aside from the ever dangerous “reply all” and the too fast forward (one of my short stories, “In the Rip” in Best New England Crime Stories 2013: Blood Moon is about the perils of drunk e-mailing), how do you protect yourself?

This Wednesday the Wickeds are sharing their wisdom–and maybe even telling how they learned the hard way.

Since we’re telling potentially embarrassing stories, I’ll be brave and start off.

robviolaclammedupMake sure it’s your news to tell: When my granddaughter was born I was so excited I almost immediately took to Facebook to spread the good news. But I missed one thing–It wasn’t my news to tell. And my son and daughter-in-law, whose news it more appropriately was, had more than a few things on their hands at the time, so their announcement would come later. So my advice would be, before you announce news, even good news, make sure it’s your news to tell.

SlapEdith: Make sure you know the consequences of what you click. I made the error of trying to send a message to a group administrator on Facebook about something minor, and instead whomped another member of the group with a slap on the hand from Zuckerberg and his cronies, about which said member was very, deeply, angrily unhappy. The result of my action was totally unintended but there was no way to reverse it (it’s impossible to contact Facebook, itself). I’m still red-faced and cringing about it.

Reading-EmailLiz: An oldie but goodie: Think twice – and re-read – what you put in an email. It’s fast and satisfying, especially if you’re sending a note that may not be sunshine and roses, but the truth is you may later regret what you write. And it lives on, in some server, taunting you.

whathappensJessie: What happens on the internet stays on the internet. Forever. I am careful about what I write or post concerning myself and doubly so with things concerning others because they can’t remove it either and didn’t choose to load it up in the first place.

Barb: Liz and Jessie, you’re reminding me of that old saying, “Never put anything in an e-mail you wouldn’t like to see in the newspaper.” And now that extends to social media–and after watching the unfolding bridge scandal in New Jersey, I’d have to say, in a text, as well.

Sherry: If you have a lot of people with the same first name double check the address before you send. I sent an email out and it went to the wrong person. No disaster here but it could have been. The other person very kindly told me about my error. As I think about becoming a more “public” person as an author I’ve posted less and less personal family pictures. Maybe I’m paranoid but I worry about that. Have any of you thought about that or changed your posting habits?

Edith: I still post occasional pictures of my adult sons, and I do put up pix of the progress on our house. I have posted a few of my young (under eight) friends but I never use their last name or any identifying info. Should I be more paranoid, Sherry? Hey, if I were truly careful, I wouldn’t be either on this blog or on Facebook!

Sherry: I’m full of questions and not a lot of answers!

sarcasmJulie: I am going to do a whole post on private public personas. As for Netiquette, I have a couple of rules of thumb. #1, never post something you wouldn’t say over a loudspeaker, or to someone’s face. #2, humor/sarcasm/wit/snark don’t always translate in social media. #3, if you are typing a rant on email, don’t fill in the To: field. Save it as a draft, and let it sit. If you are following rule #1, you don’t need rule #3, but better safe than sorry.

How about you, dear readers? Any Netiquette tips to share?

16 Thoughts

  1. This is one of my absolute pet peeves: Receiving a bulk email with multiple addresses for all to see. Please learn to use BCC. It is not hard.

    Second, for authors, please think before plugging your book in a willy nilly fashion. I recently had a thread on my wall about Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death. Someone came in and plugged her book, with a link, on that thread–not a word about PSH or the discussion, just a “my book is out now!” Bad Form x 1000.

    1. The plugging backfires in a big way, don’t you think? Or maybe that is just because I am a cranky Yankee.

      And BCC is a pet peeve for me. Especially when it leads to endless loops of “congratulations” or “yay!”.

  2. To be truly safe, never say anything negative about another person on social media, whether or not it’s deserved. I mean personal criticisms, like “ABC is such a bully!” Your statement will be out there forever, and you never know (and have no control over) how it will spread. If you have to vent about that witch ABC, do it on the phone (unless you think the NSA will be interested).

    1. A wise piece of advice, Sheila. I once posted what I thought was a nice comment about two other authors’ (very well-known authors) bookstore event and included a little bit about how it was not a big crowd but was an enthusiastic one. One later asked me if I would take that comment down, as it would live forever. I felt terrible and took it down immediately. And learned yet one more lesson!

  3. I am too sarcastic, but I try very hard to make sure it is obvious when I am being sarcastic in my internet posts.

    And I absolutely agree with others to think about what you are saying before you say it. Do you really want it out there a year from now?

    I’m not bothered when people send out e-mails to a group without using BCC. In fact, sometimes it is frustrating because you need to reply to all and can’t. I basically only use BCC if I am being sneaky and don’t want someone to know someone else was included in the e-mail.

  4. I can see how announcing a grandchild before the parents do can be a problem Barb. I’m sure Annette and I would have done so. But in our case we were in the waiting room for an hour and a half with Annette in near hysterics thinking that something had gone wrong. Meanwhile everyone back home knew the baby was born and all was well because my son-in-law had sent a text to the immediate world. He didn’t message us thinking the nurses had told us. It was worth the wait and all was immediately forgiven. I guess it works both ways. For an important message remember to include everyone who needs to know.

  5. good thoughts ladies. I’m always careful with my own news too (with my 2 pregnancies etc.) to make sure to tell people… DO NOT put this on Facebook– until you see it on there from me. Great pic too btw!

  6. I do try to proof what I type. More than once I’ve left out the word *not*! That changes the whole meaning, of course. All these are good tips. Since I have more than one name, I don’t post any family pictures at all as Kaye George, where everything is totally public. One family member doesn’t want any pictures posted at all, so I respect that, even when I’m in my other, very restricted and private persona. You can’t be too careful.

  7. This relates to the posts by Barb and Ramona, especially—Barb’s because of an announcement and Ramona’s because of the CC feature on e-mail which makes it easy for someone to forward and reply to all.

    Steve and I Learned about the death of his mother when his sister did a mass e-mailing announcing it to the world. She used mailing lists on her e-mail and her mother’s e-mail. As awful as that was, and I can’t possibly describe how awful, one of the saddest things that resulted from that incident has been that sister-in-law’s inability to recover from her mistake. Once she realized what she had done she stopped using e-mail as have others in the family.

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