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On June 16th, the Many Shades blog will be closed.
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Sunday, February 22, 2009

What Is Proper Cyber Etiquette?

By-Stephani Hecht

My mother always taught me to have proper manners. It was drilled into me that I always say thank you and please, respect my elders and always shake hands. However, in the face of advancing technology, I am finding myself more confused as I strive to keep up with cyber etiquette. What exactly is proper manners in the world of MySpace, Twitter, and blogs? Is there a handbook out there or are we all winging it as we go along?

Take the other day for example. I met a wonderful author and the very next day she friended me on MySpace. I immediately accepted and sent her a nice comment thanking her. She then sent me a comment back making some small talk. After that, I didn’t know what would be the proper next step. I sat there for minutes that stretched out into hours as I bit my nails and contemplated my move.

Do I not comment back? Then I might look like a snob. That’s just not me. Maybe snarky, at times a bitch, but never, ever snobby.

Do I comment back in hopes of keeping the banter up? Then I might look like a stalker. I know I don’t want to carry that label. That just never looks good on a resume.

Then a revelation hit me. Nobody knows MySpace better than teens and I just happened to have one of those handy. I braved the pit my son calls a bedroom to ask him. He told me to get a life. That really didn’t help my situation much, but it did give me the opportunity to go my MySpace page and put in a sad face since I was insulted.

Status: Stephani has been told by her teenager to get a life.
Mood: cranky

Things don’t get any easier in Twitter. There I am faced with the dilemma of who to send @Replies to and what to say when I do. If a big agent writes she has a cold and I reply that I hope she gets better, do I come off as an ass kisser? There are many things I want to be in life, but an ass kisser isn’t one of them. Worried, I go back into the pit to ask the teenager. This time, not only does he tell me to get a life, but he flashes the “L” sign to me. I make a mental note to take out the naked baby pictures the next time he has a girl over.

Status: Stephani is a loser.
Mood: nerdy

Then there is the whole blog issue. I love to visit blogs. They are one of my guilty pleasures which takes up way too much of my writing time. There is one issue though. I never know what posts I should comment on and what ones I should just keep my yap shut about. Blogland can be a tricky place and the last thing I want is to be caught up in the middle a great debate. Not that I don’t have opinions, I just don’t know that anybody cares about them. I am just a nobody after all. What to do? What to do? Since I’m a glutton for punishment, I ask the teen again. He tells me to stop being a dork.

Status: Stephani is a dork.
Mood: dorky

So as I finish writing this I find myself no closer to an answer then when I began. I don’t know if I will ever be able to catch up with what’s right and wrong in cyberspace. If anyone knows of an advice column I can write to for help, I would greatly appreciate it.

Status: Stephani is confused.
Mood: confused


Sarashifter said...

Stephanie that was great! You made me laugh out loud. I feel your pain!

Jambrea said...

lol What a great post! I agree...pull out the baby pictures. heehee

Stephani Hecht said...

Thanks guys. I really will pull out those pics the next time he has a girl over. Just watch me. I'm devious that way.

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