A few points about online etiquette

Online etiquette isn’t really much different from in-person etiquette. It’s all about courtesy. So think before you do a few things.

1. If you’re organizing your address book, don’t intrude on others and ask them to do the work. Several times I’ve received form emails with this (auto-generated) message: “I’m updating my contacts to a new software program. Please fill out the form below and send it back to me.” Yes, these folks are asking me to fill out an elaborate form on their behalf — address, email, phone, even birth date. Please stop and think before you do this. Nobody likes filling out forms. Nobody. Much less does anybody like getting an unsolicited request to interrupt their day and spend time typing their personal information into your files for you. Information you already have.

2. Don’t make your address book public. And please don’t make it public by including me in a mass emailing that includes the private email address of everybody you know. Even if the subject line contains an apology (“Sorry… sending this message so your address transfers to my new contacts”). Again: this is an imposition on everybody who receives the message. And you don’t have to do it this way. There are other, better ways to transfer addresses to a new contacts book. Such as: copying and pasting each address to the new contacts book. Yes, it takes more of your time. But it keeps everybody else from feeling like we’ve been exposed. My .meggardiner.com email address is public, but I guarantee that many of the other addresses you just handed to me are not.

3. Please don’t ask me to promote your book sales on this blog. Here’s the thing. I love books. Everybody who reads this blog loves books. And occasionally here I talk about books (and movies and music) I love, and invite commenters to do the same. But never on this blog — not once — have I posted price information and direct sales links for a book. Not even one of my own. If I don’t know you personally, when you send me that information and ask me to post it here so you can sell your work, at a bare minimum I’m going to notice that you’ve never read lying for a living.

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