As an author I spend a lot of time on FB and Twitter. Not only does it help me make friends with my readers, I’m a sociable sort who lives in a rather isolated spot.

However…over the past few months I’ve become rather fed up with the rudeness and uncivilized behaviour of some folks. I think my next publication should be “Netiquette – Social Media for Beginners”. I am sure such a book exists but many people haven’t read it.

I know I bang on about manners but if one treats social media as one would any gathering where there are invitees you know and total strangers, there isn’t a problem. You have something to sell? So do I, but I don’t just march up to folks I don’t know and say “See this!” while shoving my book up their nose. No sale, Mrs. Abraham.

Similarly it seems obvious to me that it is not polite to barge into someone else’s conversation and immediately start selling your product. Asking the host’s permission before showing off your wares would seem normal to me. Amongst some of us, we always share each other’s posts, it’s a bit of friendly help. Try that instead. You’ll get a lot further.

If someone makes a remark that you don’t like, complain to them, not the person on whose timeline the conversation happened! And for goodness sake stop “running to mummy” (complaining to FB) if you are rude to someone and they are nettled enough to use a slightly naughty word back at you.

If you are an author, you are in the hard world of publishing and marketing, so being precious and complaining all the time won’t make you any friends. Guess what? Those people have friends too, and word of mouth is the finest advertising – for good or ill.

We all make mistakes. The trick is to learn from them. Or perhaps I really ought to write that book!


31 thoughts on “Netiquette

  1. This blog solves the problem of whether or not there should be beginning Netiquette lessons. There should be. I arrived at a similar conclusion based on different experiences.

    After reading your blog I understand what the title of my first book should have been, Netiquette for Beginners. The actual title is Internet Users Guide: Safe and Successful Surfing. I find myself telling technology colleagues I give my card to (there is a book cover on the back) that they already ‘know’ everything in the book. It has sold, but one copy was returned without feedback for a full refund. Needless to say, I think your an excellent writer because you articulated Netiquette based on real world experiences. Some people just don’t know any better.

    1. I agree with you that “safety” is just as important, troll-dodging and avoiding negative people. However, I find that if one is polite, they tend to fade away. Like draws to like and rude people bring down karma on themselves.
      Please feel free to put a link to your book as another comment on this post and I’ll share it on FB.

  2. I found this article via “The Story Reading Ape” I wish you would write the book. I love the analogy of a party. My problem is, I’m so shy and afraid of looking foolish, I stand in the proverbial facebook/twitter corner.

    Also, I must know about these otters!

    1. That is actually the best thing to do on line for the first few visits – get to see who is who and what is going on. Once you find a few mouthy friends (like me) they will introduce you to lots of other “nice” people. The otters … ahhhhh – may have to do a whole blog post on that

  3. Thanks very much everyone for your kind feedback and especially for sharing, RTing or putting it on your blogs. Welcome to new followers and friends on Twitter – happy to know you. Will reply individually as I get time but do appreciate your comments xxx

  4. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Ailsa Abraham is a straight talker and sometimes we do need to be reminded that the rules of social engagement apply whenever a group of people gather in person or virtually…. Usually alcohol is not involved when online – well during daytime anyway, so there really is not much excuse for ‘that’s when the fight started’. I will add that there are some people who have their finger hovering over the block button, particularly on Twitter – instead of just unfollow they feel they need to underline their dislike of your contributions…. if an image or a post is offensive in some way then of course you have every right to block that person, but will that change their behaviour – perhaps a quiet word instead… perhaps we are afraid of online confrontation? In that case unfollow them and make a general statement about etiquette and what you don’t like posted in your thread and they may get the message. Excellent post as always Ailsa and good to see you back in full swing….otter hugs.

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