Posts Tagged ‘Tech-Etiquette’

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!

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.

Twitter Etiquette: The Do’s & Don’ts Of Auto-Tweeting (My Opinion)

January 25, 2011 2 comments

Many posts have been written on this topic but quite frankly I don’t think that we will ever reach a true consensus on what is the “correct way” to use social media tools like Twitter. The fact of the matter is that interacting on Twitter is very much like interacting in the physical world on certain levels. What I mean by that is that no one can ever really tell you your method of interacting is ‘wrong’ because if you go to another country or culture what is socially weird in the first place is the norm in the other. Even social norms in one place can – and do – change over time.

Example: before the 1960’s EVERY MAN wore a hat when he went out of the house.  There were different styles for people with different jobs but all in all, every man wore a hat when he went outside. As the 1960’s developed less and less men wore hats in the Western World. If you re-watch the show Mad Men which begins in the 1960 through until the end of the current season which ends in 1965 you will notice that the main character, Don Draper, wears his hat out less and less as the seasons progress. Before the 1960’s it was so expected that men had hats when they went out that places had ‘hat checks’ along with their coat checks. (I read that as I researched this example, I had no idea about this beforehand!)

Don Draper of Mad Men in all his hatted glory.

My point is we will never be able to tell someone they are using Twitter – or any social media for that matter – ‘wrong’. If they can reach their goals doing what they do and using the tools at hand they way they want to use them then that is awesome. It is not up to us to educate them.

That long-winded introduction being said here is when I think it is OK to  auto-tweet. If you disagree let me know in the comments! This is just my $0.02, you don’t have to agree.

NOTE: If you don’t know what an auto-tweet is, it is when you use a program like TweetDeck or HootSuite to schedule a tweet to go out automatically without any interaction from you – or your computer even being on. It is also called a scheduled tweet or an autotweet. Many people do not like them and I have heard many people rant & rail against them while I have seen many other people use them. I follow my own rules as described below for when it’s OK and when it isn’t OK to auto-tweet.

When It Is OK To Auto-Tweet
  • You’re a night owl and are browsing the internet at 4am when most of the people you speak to on Twitter are very much asleep. You find a super awesome link that you’d love to share with your Twitter followers but know if you tweet it now by the time people wake up it will be long gone and forgotten in their twitter streams. So you set up an auto-tweet to automatically tweet the link & your comment on it at some point in the morning when you will be awake and available to reply to people who respond to your link & comments.
  • Your friend asks you to remind them of something they need to do in hours or days from now or you want to remind yourself to do something. I don’t see any harm here in setting an auto-tweet up here. It isn’t like you’re advertising something for the world to see, it’s probably a one-off tweet and if you set it as an @reply no one who isn’t following both of you will even see the tweet.
  • Sort of like the above two, if you are privy to an awesome deal that hasn’t been announced yet or gone live yet but want to let your circle of followers/friends know the second it is available and don’t want to forget about it by all means set it up as an auto-tweet. People will be glad to hear about the super awesome deal or product (yes, it has to actually be super awesome not just in your opinion) and so the fact that you aren’t present when it is being tweeted is less important.
When It Is NOT OK To Auto-Tweet
  • You are advertising something and tweet essentially the same thing over and over again. Twitter will not let you literally tweet the same tweet twice in a specific period of time but changing one letter or word & tweeting essentially the same thing isn’t cool either. If you are trying to promote an event how about revealing different details about it within each tweet that links to your RSVP page so that it isn’t essentially the same message over and over and over again.

Remember, the above is my opinion and that is all it can ever be. Some people won’t give a damn if you auto-tweet, some people won’t notice, and some people think it is a violation of their human rights to be subjected to your auto-tweets.

Personally I know a couple of people who auto-tweet and do I really care? No, quite honestly I don’t care that much. If you follow and are engaging with enough people on Twitter unless someone is really spamming the same message over and over again it tends to wash over you and you don’t even notice. When you do notice you might grin to yourself and think, “Ah, @AutoTweeter is auto-tweeting again” and then you will go on with your day/night.

What do you think about my stance on this? Agree? Disagree? You’re entitled and I encourage you to voice your support/opposition/apathy to me.

How To Clap When You’re Addicted To Your Phone & Social Media

January 22, 2011 2 comments

Pepsi Refresh Project Tweetup by @PhotoJunkie (

For most of us with smartphones it is very difficult to sometimes put our phones down. As you can see in the above picture from the Pepsi Refresh Project Tweetup by @PhotoJunkie we addicts to social media spend a lot of time on our phones tweeting even when we are out in public with groups of people. Most of us who are used to hanging out with fellow social media addicts do not think anything of it when people violate normal etiquette rules and are looking down at their phones while we are talking to them. We are well aware that (1) we do  it too and (2) no offense is meant by it and (3) most of us are quite adept multitaskers who can listen to a conversation while tweeting about it too.

When I’m tweeting I usually only have one hand free. Like in this picture of me with @Got2ridemyhorse from #XLBday88 by @The_JMoney (

However, one of the problems I often find myself having when I am out and about listening to a speaker or watching a performance and all the while tweeting/BBMing/texting/browsing the Internet is that I only have one hand which remains free for other uses. Often, it is true, this free hand is used for holding a beer as in the picture above but what do you do when the on stage act which you are tweeting about finishes and you are still busy with one hand on your phone? How do you show your appreciation with the rest of the crowd – who aren’t an addict like you and have 2 hands free – who are all clapping? We already know there is no way I’m going to stop tweeting to clap so there must be another way to continue tweeting AND clap at the same time without knocking my phone out my hands. (Hey, I already admitted I’m an addict, don’t judge me!) And so, I have come up with a brilliant solution which I would like to share with you – and please feel free to use it whenever you are out and about. What I do is I ensure I am not holding a beer in my otherwise free hand and I simply slap the side of my leg – below the  pocket so as not to crush stuff in there – and it provides a very similar sound to the clapping of two hands together.

In case you are wondering, I have experimented with slapping other parts of my body – no not my crotch, I wasn’t even trying that one – and they don’t work in terms of the awkwardness of hitting them repeatedly, and their very biological makeup. Your chest will not supply quite the same sound because it is largely hollow inside your lungs, also it is quite awkward smacking your chest while you are trying to tweet…that repeatedly moving hand is an annoying distraction! Slapping your opposite upper arm WOULD work except you’d probably run into the problem of dropping your phone and all the shaking will probably prevent you from tweeting. No, the leg/thigh region is the best place for you to slap as an ersatz clap for all of us social media/iPhone/CrackBerry addicts out there.

Try it out for yourself and let me know what you think.

The Difficulty Of Conveying Emotion, Tone, & Inflection On The Internet

January 10, 2011 2 comments

Copyright 2010 ZITS Partnership. Distributed by King Features Syndicate.

It has been said time and time again that a large part of human interaction is our body language coupled with the tone and inflection of our voice and a much smaller part is, surprisingly, the words actually spoken. This was less of a problem with our last major society changing communications device: the Telephone. Although we lose out on body language when talking on the phone at least we can still hear the other person’s tone of voice which greatly helps us to understand the true meaning behind their words. As seen in the above comic strip “Zits” when we attempt to move conversation over to the written word (in the form of text messaging or emailing or tweeting) oftentimes things can be misinterpreted or misunderstood completely or even not understood at all.

I have seen this myself countless times and one specific interaction of mine comes to mind to use as an example. During November’s annual Movember campaign (a campaign where men around the world ‘donate their faces’ and grow mustaches to draw support and awareness to prostate cancer) I was interacting with the Twitter account @MoChampions. Innocently (I thought), I tweeted the question “anyone know who is running the @MoChampions account” to which they replied “@Dan_L why I am Dan? What’s up?“. I was fairly taken aback by the strange answer but looking back on it I knew it was them joking around and not being evasive. I was wondering only because I knew some of my Twitter friends were running the campaign in Toronto and I wanted to know if it was one of them behind the account name. I therefore replied to the tweet “@MoChampions I is a pronoun and doesn’t really answer the q. I was wondering if it was one of the tweeps I know running the account“.

I thought I was just pushing lightly for an actual answer but little did I know they were wondering on the other side of their computers why I was so annoyed and combative with them – something I was not attempting to be. We Direct Messaged back and forth after that – they still kept my curiosity piqued without revealing anything! – and a few days later at the Movember Tweetgasm “MoGasm” event at the Gladstone Hotel I met with the guy behind the account who told me that I had the person actually sitting and running the account (who works for him) worried that they were really pissing me off. Of course, I told him that nothing could be further from the truth. I just wasn’t able to convey my joking tone and smiles via Twitter as it relies on words and although the words are sometimes coupled with emoticons and net acronyms like LOL or ROTFLAMO or even the classic haha even those can be misinterpreted as sarcastic instead of joking. Needless to say, the man behind the MoChampions account and I had a laugh about the whole episode once we were in front of each other in real life.

To sum up: In this day and age of instant communication we have to remember that there is a good portion of human language that is lost when we type our words instead of speak them. Always be careful to make sure the other person (or people) knows when you are joking around and when you are being serious. Remember that your words can be reinterpreted by different people to mean different things – ESPECIALLY if they have never met you in real life and know your personality from their own real world experience with you.

[Above ZITS comic from December 26, 2010 via Arcamax publishing at Copyright 2010 ZITS Partnership. Distributed by King Features Syndicate.]

Twitter conversation tweets pictured above can be found at these 3 links Link 1, Link 2, Link 3

The BCC Option In Your Email

July 2, 2010 1 comment

This post was updated & edited to include the cartoon from The Oatmeal (seen below) on January 5, 2011.

I recently got an email from a member of my shul (Jewish word for synagogue) who didn’t have a reason to know my personal email address as I’ve never emailed them and they’ve never emailed me before. The email was about the launching of their new business. Now while that email in of itself could be considered spam its content is NOT what this post is about.

This post is about people’s seeming lack of ability to use the BCC line instead of the TO line when sending a mass email. If you do not know what BCC means allow me to translate the abbreviation. It means “Blind Carbon Copy”. What this means is that every address you put in that line/box marked BCC is hidden from every other address you put in that box. I can only assume that this person who emailed me got my address from someone else who didn’t use the BCC and that is how your address spreads around the world.

That is also how your address gets to spammers and spyware mailing lists. Let me explain how that works. If one of the +150 people who were recipients of this email decide to hit the Forward button and send it to a bunch of their friends without using the BCC box and they further don’t take the time to delete my and all the other email addresses from the list at the beginning of the forwarded message my email address just got into another untold number of people I don’t know’s address books anywhere in the world. This is especially true if some of those people decide to repeat the forwarding process in the same manner. Now my email is out there and if one of those people gets a virus or spyware or is themselves a spammer guess who just made the list of people to email? Me and every other one of those +150 recipients of the original solicitous email. (Which, remember, was essentially spam in the first place).

To quote Wikipedia: “It is common practice to use the Bcc: field when addressing a very long list of recipients, or a list of recipients that should not (necessarily) know each other, e.g. in mailing lists.” See for more as it really does explain a lot about BCCing.

Maybe the problem is that people who aren’t technologically inclined and/or weren’t brought up using email simply don’t understand what they’re doing when they don’t use the BCC line and email en masse. I will try now to further explain it using more Baby Boomer/run of the mill technological concepts (as I jokingly did in a Twitter conversation – a tweetversation? – with @r_tania_n last night):
Would you want someone to start posting your phone number and address all around the world on walls in public places? Think about the guy from Lifelock who in commercials puts his Social Security Number on a cube van sidewall and has it driven around town. The reason the commercial makes a point is because usually this is info you don’t want everyone in the world to have. The same goes for your phone number(s). Sure most of our house lines and even lots of cell phones are in the phonebook and available on the internet in numerous places but we still don’t necessarily want people to have it stored in their address books (or written in their personal phonebook like my mom has kept for as long as I can remember near one of the phones in the house). This would be especially true if you knew telemarketers has webcams set up to rove the cities looking for phone numbers for them to call. There’s a reason countries have set up National Do Not Call Lists (American DNCL Canadian DNCL).

In conclusion please, people; please learn to use the BCC line & teach others who don’t know how to use it to use it too! (Or send them to this blog to teach them & get me more traffic).

[Above Picture via The Oatmeal “If You Do This In An Email I Hate You” Post here]

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