Archive for the ‘Tech-Etiquette’ Category

Facebook Friendship Doesn’t Opt Me In To Your Email List! Online Etiquette For The 21st Century

December 20, 2011 2 comments

I met a person in late April of 2010 (as evidence by the confirmation email of our friend status on Facebook still archived in my account) and have seen him once or twice since then but – as many of you already know – being a Facebook friend doesn’t mean you’re necessarily “real” friends. He added me to LinkedIn in May of this year and a couple of days after I accepted his invitation to connect I got an email from him with the subject: “Introduction to Real Estate.”

I had never given this guy my email address (aside from it being listed on LinkedIn and Facebook) and the email he sent was unsolicited and was all about how he was beginning a business as a ‘Real Estate Sales Representative.’ Great for him but I was confused as to how I had been added to his list of people to send the announcement to. I emailed him back and had the conversation you see below:

Note: The only changes I have made were to remove identifying information.

His reply to my final email as you see above was to explain to me how he did it. He either didn’t get how perturbed I was (read between the lines dude!) or didn’t care. I wasn’t happy about the whole thing but let it go after that because it didn’t seem worth fighting over and being a jerk about. I assumed I was not the only one who had the nerve to call him out on spamming people. I also, quite obviously, opted out of receiving further emails from him.

When he joined Twitter a month later – in June – he started following me. I gladly gave him some advice on how to be more effective for his business on Twitter thinking that helping him would mean he was less likely to be spamming people. I told him to first and foremost change the default profile picture which he did pretty quickly and then mentioned a couple of other things which seem pretty obvious to the average person who spends a lot of time on Twitter and the social web but may not be to others.

Then the night of December 12th I had another conversation with Lani. The conversation you see below is one that actually happened and is unedited. When reading it remember that I was half asleep as it began at 12:45am and that this wasn’t the first time that I had dealt with him and was already quite wary of the way he conducted himself online…remember I had also been following him on Twitter for half a year and saw him pretty much ignore all of my suggestions.

Conversation with a Facebook & Email Spammer

The full conversation, the only edit I have made is to white out his name.

If you read the beginning of our conversation you’ll see I was being as noncommittal as possible. I tried to avoid the issue giving brief sort of funny smart aleck answers to his questioning and he should have just left it at that. If someone isn’t at all interested in the conversation how far do you keep pushing? After I could see he wasn’t getting it I just straight up called him as I saw him – a spammer. I also sort of saw it as my right once he called me a ‘guru’ which I don’t think I am but if he was going to call me a guru which meant he considered me a master and leader and teacher I was going to do my duty to him and teach him. Sure I could have sugar-coated it but he clearly hadn’t gotten it before when I had tried to do that via our email exchange so this time I had had enough.

Facebook Statement of Rights and Responsibilities 5.7 highlighted

Oh, after this exchange he decided to unfriend me on Facebook. Sure, I was rude but was I in the right? I totally think so. What he had done with his email stunt was actually illegal according to Facebook’s rules. As you can see above, Facebook has very specific rules for people using Facebook and for protecting its user’s rights. The Facebook “Statement of Rights and Responsibilities” says that “[i]f you collect information from users, you will: obtain their consent, make it clear you (and not Facebook) are the one collecting their information, and post a privacy policy explaining what information you collect and how you will use it.” Lani’s entire argument for how he was

I know this was a long preamble but it brings me to a few points of etiquette that everyone should already be aware of but it seems they are not:

  • If I hand you a business card that does not mean I am opting in for your email list. It means I want you to have my email and for you to personally be able to get in touch with me.
  • Facebook friendship does not mean I have opted in to your email list.
  • The fact that you have an opt-out option in your email list is irrelevant. Those listed have to have opted-in to your list in some way before you can send that first email. Even if it wasn’t a direct violation of Facebook’s rules and what is legal and illegal in Canada and the USA (according to privacy laws) it is an extreme breach of trust given to you when I friended you on Facebook.
  • You are not Jean Valjean (aka 24601) and the fact that this is your livelihood you are breaking the law for does not make it OK to break the law and breach people’s trust by misusing their information. By that logic we should be doing nothing to stop spammers and hackers because it is their livelihood to do malicious things on the internet (OK, some of them are just jerks but you get the point).

Also, don’t call someone a guru if you don’t darn well mean it. I don’t think I am a guru, I think I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of the knowledge I would need to amass before I could even hope to meet with a guru and be able to have an intelligent conversation with them beyond the words “Hello, my name is Dan.” BUT as I said above, if you submit yourself to my teachings by calling me a guru don’t get insulted when you don’t like what you hear. I call them as I see them and give people straight answers.

When people comment on this blog and when I comment on other people’s blogs (usually requiring an email address to be entered) I don’t expect to be added to mailing list. How many blogs have you seen which go out of their way to assure you that they take your privacy very seriously when you give them your email address, there’s a reason for that.

Do you have anything to add to this? Have things like this ever happened to you? Think I was too harsh on him in our Facebook conversation? Let me know!

 Sketched Mailbox with ‘@’ symbol aka MC900341788 via Microsoft Office

Facebook “Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.” You can find the full text here.

Cell Phone Etiquette IV: The Text & Run

October 17, 2011 2 comments

I have written a number of Cell Phone Etiquette posts in the past – you can find them herehere, and here – and just realized my last one was written in May 2010. Therefore, for today’s post I have decided to once again tackle Cell Phone Etiquette.

To be fair, this post is somewhat of a PLEASE STOP DOING THIS as opposed to a discussion on etiquette but I will let you, my readers, make the final judgement on the suitability of the title.


You receive a text message asking you a question (or a series of them). You realize that it would be way easier to answer the person’s question(s) if you just called them instead of typing a veritable novel as a response so you hit the ‘Call’ button on your phone and they don’t pick up. You wait a minute or two and – politely – text them that you just called them to reply to their question(s) and they didn’t pick up – no response. You are confused.

I call this kind of thing The Text & Run. This kind of behavior is definitely very high on my list of pet peeves of modern communication. Beyond that it is just plain rude, what do people think the person on the other side of the phone is going to believe? That after you texted them you threw your phone across the room and ran in the other direction? Is that why you aren’t replying to calls and follow up texts?

Don’t get me wrong. I completely understand that there are times when although one can freely text they can’t pick up the phone. But if that’s the case then send a text to us explaining the situation. To paraphrase Warden Samuel Norton in “The Shawshank Redemption”: Don’t just vanish like a fart in the wind!

Does this happen to you ever or am I alone on this? Do you find it as annoying as I do? Let’s work together to let recurring Text & Run offenders know that this behavior is bad etiquette, downright rude, and all in all not ok!

How Long Is Acceptable To Wait Before Replying To A Comment?

October 9, 2011 1 comment

Responding to a comment I received on my blog earlier this evening. Pretty good turnaround time if I do say so myself!

This is a question of blogger etiquette which I put to you, my readers. I have mentioned before that as a blogger one of the most rewarding things about blogging is the comments I get as a result of my blog posts. But recently, with life that needs living I don’t always get to answer comments on the blog as quickly as I would like to and I was wondering if this is affecting your opinions of me and my blog and my attitude towards my blog. So, I have decided to ask all y’all what you think is an acceptable amount of time that I should strive to reply to comments left on my blog.

As of now the poll has no time limit. I might change that in the future and will change these words accordingly but right I feel I’m not one to judge anyone on timing.

Have at it! I look forward to the responses on this poll!


Marketing With Tact, What Not To Do

June 8, 2011 2 comments

It is that time of year again that every year I and millions of others like me are made to feel left out while others celebrate. You’d think that as a Jew and missing out on all the major Christian holidays most everyone celebrates I would be used to this sort of thing but this issue is entirely different. What is happening now that makes me feel left out and reminds me of something I don’t need reminding of? Father’s Day.

I don’t make a secret of the fact that my dad passed away almost a decade ago but at the same time I don’t shout it from the rooftops. I get on with my life every day and try and live for the most part unaffected by this loss…and you can insert the rest of what you expect me to say about it here because I can’t be bothered to write it.


What just annoyed me and spurned this post is receiving a marketing email reminding me that Father’s Day is coming up. It gave all those sappy lines encouraging me to buy their product only one thing…who the heck am I buying it for? Right, no one. Thanks for the reminder that my dad is dead, Company X.

Now I am not expecting the whole world to stop because I have experienced a loss that the majority of other people my age haven’t.

I don’t expect to not see ads for Father’s Day/see the day mentioned on TV, in magazines, on billboards, and in storefronts or to hear talk/ads for it on the radio. I am sure there will be a ton of posts all over the internet leading up to the big day and I wouldn’t expect anything less.

However, what I think we can all expect from marketers or advertisers who are sending out email blasts is at least the attempt to get us to fill out a poll with information about what is relevant to us when we sign up for these lists. I don’t need to receive an email at 1 AM to remind me that my dad is no longer amongst the living. Never mind the fact that these email blasts are more often glanced at and deleted so I have to wonder about the conversion rate from an email blast these days.

I am mildly surprised that we don’t have this option available to us more often than not. In this world which is growing more complex and bombarding us all with more and more stimuli on a constant basis I would think marketers and advertisers would be striving to make their messages more and more targeted and relevant to help cut through the noise. We are also living in a world where we are getting more and more Politically Correct (PC) every day. I would think that targeted marketing would be a very important part of targeted marketing. We should be trying to do our utmost NOT TO attempt to market Ash Wednesday to Jews, Hanukkah to Buddhists, Super Bowl Sunday to Buffalo Bills fans, Vesak to the Muslims, etc.

What I know right now is that this is one email list for which I will be hitting the unsubscribe button, post haste.

At least that’s my opinion on this. What do you think?

Please Stop Asking Questions That Are Easily Answered By A Google Search

June 5, 2011 7 comments

Really. It is enough already people. Are you that freaking lazy?

What annoys me so much about this is that the people who I find ask me these questions the most are the ones who are very well versed in using the Interwebs and searching online for whatever they need in general. This is what I find most annoying and why I feel you have no excuse to ask me such questions. Google is only a click away people, use it!

I have made a decision – next time you ask me a question that is easily answerable by a quick Google search – such as the address of a place or directions to a place I will hang up on you and simply not answer your phone call next time you call. This also goes for people who ask me the dress code for a venue. All you have to do is Google it and go to their website – if it doesn’t say it there then you can call them and ask don’t ask me. If that doesn’t work then I suggest you treat leaving your house on any occasion as a black tie event and dress accordingly. You will never be under-dressed again!

Try turning your brains on people.

Posted from WordPress for Android on the HTC Incredible S.

A Question Of Blogging Etiquette Regarding The Blog Roll

April 2, 2011 9 comments

This blog doesn’t have a “Blog Roll”  (or is it “BlogRoll”?) but I have debated adding one so you folks can see what other blogs I read.

I was extremely honored when a friend of mine asked me if it was cool if he added a link to my blog to his blog’s Blog Roll. Of course, being so honored, I said he was more than welcome to and I thanked him profusely for thinking my blog was worthy of being on his blog roll but being as I do not know the etiquette of these things I wasn’t sure if this:

  • Required me to now make a blog roll of my own and…
  • Include this friend’s blog in my new blog roll

Now don’t get me wrong, I do read this friend’s blog so if I had a blog roll I would totally have added this friend’s blog to the list. But as I did not have a blog roll beforehand I do not know what the etiquette is here. Is it understood that as I did not have a blog roll beforehand that no reciprocal link is required? Or is it expected that because they added me to their blog roll I should now be adding their blog to my blog roll (once it exists).

As it is the beginning of April and I have blogged daily for almost 3 entire months I think it is fair to consider myself a blogger at his point. I understand the point of blog rolls is to:

  • Share with your blog’s readers the blogs you find interesting
  • Drive traffic to other blogs in your circle of friends who are also bloggers
  • Receive traffic for your blog from your friends who are bloggers’ blogs

In my researching this subject I found that often times bloggers will ask for reciprocation before adding a blog to their blog roll but in my case this didn’t happen. Just a query if it is OK to add a link to my blog to this friend’s blog roll.

I should probably figure out the etiquette for this sometime soon or maybe I should just go with whatever my gut tells me to do – this decision-making process has remained in my brain thus far. Maybe I should make this a formspring question too.

Side Note: In researching this post I even saw the opinion opined on other blogs that a blog roll is a waste of space for one’s blog. I don’t know if I agree with that in terms of my own personal blog. I think even on a corporate blog it could do some good if your brand is part of a family of brands owned by one parent company. For example if the Unilever brand Axe had a link to Dove’s blog in their blog roll (which are two among the many other Unilever brands) that would make perfect sense and would help drive business as it would bring the customer onto more familiar terms with the entire brand family.

So what do you folks think? Let me know your opinions through any of the usual channels. I look forward to hearing from all y’all.

Twitter Etiquette Part II: Auto-Tweeting Is OK For #FollowFriday/#FF Posting. Feat @jpuopolo & @oatmeal

February 25, 2011 2 comments

Some FollowFriday Auto-Tweets Set Up In My TweetDeck For Today's Tweeting,


In this post “Twitter Etiquette: The Do’s & Don’ts Of Auto-Tweeting (My Opinion)” written exactly a month ago on January 25th I discuss what I think is OK and not OK if you are going to set up an Auto-Tweet on Twitter.

However, as each #FollowFriday (now more often than not shortened to #FF), passes and I see tons of people who write a bunch of names with the #FF hashtag preceding it I became less and less likely to pay any attention to the #FF tweets. Then, I got a #FF tweet from one @jpuopolo at around the same time as I read The Oatmeal’s “How #FollowFriday Is SUPPOSED To Work” comic (I pasted only part of it below to make it a lot smaller because otherwise it would take up this entire page and also that part illustrates what I am talking click the link above to read the entire comic).


What I would see on #FF and my reaction as a result. Go to to see the full comic.


Now @jpuopolo is one of those people who, in my opinion, is ‘doing it right’. His #FF tweets are always dedicated to one or maybe two people per tweet. There is always a reason given in the tweet why we should actually want to follow that person or why @jpuopolo likes that person or even just something funny about the person to make them into a person and not some random Twitter handle accompanied by a bunch more and a hashtag.


The way that @jpuopolo does his #FF tweets is pretty much exactly what The Oatmeal recommends as the proper/expected way – the way #FollowFriday is SUPPOSED to work. But when I tried doing it one week I found that with the amount of conversations and experiences I have in a week it is sometimes difficult to remember who and why I would like to issue a #FF tweet for when it actually comes to Friday.

This is why I have changed my rules for when it is OK to auto-tweet. I think it is completely legitimate to set up auto-tweets for fully formed and thought out #FollowFriday tweets. This way, when Friday comes not only do you give some credit where credit is due and encourage other people to follow someone who you think is awesome – your #FF tweet is really from the heart because when you wrote it on Tuesday you really were thinking at the time, “Wow, this person rocks…other people should get to experience the fantastamazingness of their Twitter streams!”

One final thing, I asked @jpuopolo: “How do you keep coming up with all these awesometastic #FF? thanx so much!” and pictured below was his reply:



Final Thought: Do you agree that this is a completely legitimate use for auto-tweets?

Have a great #FollowFriday and a great weekend!

To check out my first Twitter Etiquette post from January 25, 2011 click here.

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