Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Writers' Wednesday: How to Get Along in Cyber-World

Welcome to Writers' Wednesday! Of course, before I dive into today's "how to," just a reminder about The Best Ebook of the Summer contest, going on now. Stop by and vote for ONE NIGHT IN BOSTON...it's the newbie (that's me) against the multi-published author, and I'm holding my own, for now.

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Last week I blogged about how wonderful it is to make friends (and writing pals) via the Internet. And it is, really. I've "met" some terrific people from all over the world. I've learned from veteran writers, thanks to boards and blogs and online classes. And I've picked up some 'Netiquette tips along the way.

1. Don't hog the board. When you belong to a writers' group (or any online group, really), you might be tempted to jump right in and post every few minutes. If that's the flavor of the group, then OK. But make sure that you're leaving room/time for other people to participate as well. And along those lines...

2. If you are asking for feedback, on writing or any other topic, make sure you give it as well. I've seen too many people come to the table with their own agendas, their own needs, and when they got what they needed, turn around and leave. If you're asking for a poll response, make sure you participate when others have polls as well. If you need someone to read a query letter, read theirs when they post it. And so on.

3. Watch the tone of your posts. This one's tough. Email, IM, chatting, posting...all has changed the way people interact. You cannot see someone's facial expression when you're reading their email/post, so if you take offense or sense a negative tone, wait a few minutes before overreacting. Ask for clarification. Many times it's just the person's word choice rather than a personal attack.

4. Be polite, and apologize if you sense someone has taken a post/message the wrong way. Remember #3. People cannot see your face, and they don't always know if you're kidding or being sarcastic.

5. Leave personal problems offline. Not always, of course: sometimes your cyber-friends can help you through tough times. But be careful which dirty laundry you choose to air. Remember there is no privacy on the Internet, no matter how careful you try to be.

6. Reciprocate the nice stuff. Do your online friends remember your birthday and send you e-cards? Do the same for them. Do they take the time to email you offline if you need something? Return the favor.

The Internet is a wonderful place to build new relationships...just be careful, and keep a few 'Netiquette tips in mind.

Anyone else have one they'd like to share?

3 comments:

Sarita Leone said...

Great post, Allie. All good points!

Diane Craver said...

Allie,
Everything you mentioned is so true, especially #3 and #4. Without seeing faces, we have to be extra careful in how we word our emails.

Mel said...

Don't type in ALL CAPS.

Just kidding. I have to agree about watching the tone of what you are writing and vise versa. Even on the internet you can still plant your foot firmly in your mouth.

And, no I haven't experienced this.