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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.

Make 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.

Edith: 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.

Liz: 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.

Jessie: 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!

Julie: 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?

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