Tuesday, May 6, 2014

How To Be Polite In A Digital Age

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I personally find that the more people are online the easier it seems to be for basic politeness and courtesy to fall to the side and get left behind. You see the problem is it is easy to forget there are real people behind the avatar. As a writer I often see this with new authors (many of whom probably didn’t use a lot of social networks prior to releasing their book).  So I am going to give you five examples of what people have done to me personally and the real life equivalent in hopes that it will prevent someone from doing it in the future.

1.       Never talking to me, but sending me links or posting links to their book on my Facebook page. This is the same as going to a neighbor’s garage sale who took out an ad in the newspaper and did all the marketing work and putting a large sign in their yard directing the people to your house. Would you do that? Do you honestly think that is a civilized or acceptable way to behave?

2.       Only posting links to your books or reviews on Facebook and Twitter. This is the same as hosting  a party and carrying around your book, but instead of greeting the other guests and talking to them you just hold up your book and say “Buy this,” then move on to the next person. Would you go to another party held by that person? Would you at all be interested in their book?

3.       Expecting others to help you, but giving nothing in return. If someone posts about your book or you on their blog, they are doing you a favor. They don’t have to help you. They don’t have to give you a good review. That is like if you give someone a gift and they immediately look at you and say “Is this all you are going to do for me? Can I have the gift receipt so I can return it for something I want more?” Basic politeness people. Say thank you for your time. Thank you for reading my book no matter what they said about it. They took time out of their life to look at something you  created. Be grateful for that and return it. Look at their blog or website. Read their book. Or at the very least, say thank you.  It doesn’t cost you anything to do it.

4.       Adding others to your group or street team without asking them first. This is like inviting thirty people over to someone’s house without telling them you have done it. Surprise! I am hosting a party at your house.

5.       Oversharing about the troubles in your life. There is nothing worse than taking family fights, cheating boyfriends, or friends you are mad at to social media. That would be like going to a large sporting event, stealing the microphone and airing all of your woes for the world to see. Readers, employers, and people who don’t know you at all are reading this. You might think you are shaming the guilty party, but really aren’t you just embarrassing yourself?

Think of social media like a block party. You want to mingle, meet people and make new friends. Put your best self forward, but still be yourself.

Liz


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