One of my journo-former-life jobs was to edit the Letters to the Editor pages.
It was not a job that I looked forward to each day. At all.
Mostly that was because of the largely negative nature of the letters received and I was quite aware that if I stuffed up and let something go through that was defamatory that I would be on the receiving end of an almighty rant.
… as I was one morning. It was a particularly large and loud rant (I had slipped up but I don’t agree with being shouted at – at work or at home), after which I skulked back to my desk and vowed and declared to myself that I would work towards being removed from this daily task.
My point is that in the “olden” days, the letter pages of a newspaper were the only avenue through which people could vent their views on news of the day. When they did so, this actually involved putting pen to paper. The best letter writers spent time crafting their thoughts into reasoned prose. The worst? Typically they were written quite forcefully with viewpoints rammed home by a page full of block capital and exclamation marks.
Either way, quite a lot of thought and effort went into the process of “expressing” a viewpoint. And we only ever published an anonymous letter under special circumstances. Even in those circumstances we had the contact name and number of the letter writer so knew they were real people. If we suspected they were fake details, we’d phone and check. If found to be fake, the letters would be binned.
Nowadays, it’s all too easy to jump on to an online news site, a blog, Twitter, Facebook and spew forth a rant.
Without stopping to think. Without editing yourself. Without even having the guts to put a real name and email address to the rant.
I truly believe you should stop and edit yourself. The Internet is forever. Will you be happy in a year’s time when a potential employer is the same one you had a rant over today?
Last week Chantelle at Fat Mum Slim wrote this post about online manners and this week the beautiful Kelly Exeter created this manifesto. Head on over to Kelly’s blog, download it and share it. I particularly like the bit about the Queen.
In the comments section it was suggested that it would be good for this to pop up whenever anyone was about to comment on a blog post. I love that idea. If there is someone geeky enough to know how to make this happen, email me!
I want to use the manifesto as a base today and talk social media etiquette. Not because I think I’m the best person to discuss it but because it needs to be discussed.
I’m focussing on the four main networks I like to hang out on. You might have something to say about your experience on these networks and others. Please do.
Now it’s your turn. What don’t you like seeing in your social media networks? Which networks do you find yourself spending more time in of late? Do you stop and think before you post?
And if you’ve blogged about any aspect of blogging this week, feel free to add your post to my Saturday blogging link-up. There is room where it says NAME to include your blog’s name plus the name of the post, for example: STYLING YOU: 20 tips for improving your social media etiquette
New to blogging? How to Start a Blog is your start-up bible. It’s simple to read and easy to understand but it’s also information packed, stepping you through the technical stuff as well as offering concrete ideas on how to get the content ball rolling.