Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What are your pet peeves when it comes to online communication?

Someone annoyed me yesterday in her interaction with me online, and it occurred to me that we have very different expectations of online media and how we use it. So I decided to share my pet peeves and ask you to share yours.

1. Writing private messages on my Facebook wall

One of the most annoying things for me is when someone who knows me in a private capacity writes messages about my personal issues on my Facebook wall. Yes, we are family/friends /whatever our relationship may be. But I’m not in the same terms with the other people in my FB social network. So if you have something you want to ask me, or tell me, do so privately. FB has a send email feature. If you’re not sure about my email address, use it!

2. Chatting on IM even though I tell you I’m busy/in a meeting/whatever

Most days I feel ambushed when I go on FB, Skype and other social media platforms. Yes, I know the platforms are supposed to allow friends to connect instantly to chat. But consider that I am there for a reason, and like everyone else, I do have to work. Why not send me an email, which I can respond to when my time is free, rather than forcing me to brush you off? The beauty of technology is not just that you can find the person you’re looking for anytime you want. The beauty of it is also that it captures my messages, so I as a recipient can respond at my convenience.

3. Stretching other people’s boundaries (without their verbal or tacit consent)

This point is almost similar to point 1, except it relates to instances where people disseminate content or publish info /pictures of you without your consent. I’m not talking about damaging photos, like nude pictures or sexually explicit content. I’m talking about seemingly harmless content that the other party may prefer not publish.

You know that Facebook feature that asks you to suggest a profile picture for your friend if he/she is new on Facebook? I once used it, installed a very good picture of a friend of mine. It was a very classy head and shoulders picture. And I was trying to be very helpful to my friend. She completely freaked out on me, asked me to remove the picture immediately. I could literally hear her hyperventilate on the phone as we spoke.

The reason for her over-reaction? She had previously been stalked by an ex-boyfriend ( in real life) and she was still feeling insecure on getting on Facebook. In her mind, my putting her picture online was the same as putting a target sign on her forehead. I knew of the stalking, but somehow, in my helpfulness, I never even considered that she would have an issue.

So before you publish someone’s photos, or tag them on yours, ask, unless you’re 100% sure that they won’t mind. Don’t assume they won’t because the content is harmless.

So. Share. What are you pet peeves when it comes to online communication?


po said...

I love this. I agree with all of it, I prefer to err on the side of privacy. One "friend", my usual stalker, posted a link of me at my work place on my Facebook profile. |It's an awful picture, and it freaked me out that he actually bothered to google me and look for a picture of me. I didn't want anyone else to see that awful pic but he posted it on my wall. Not cool.

tiah said...

The im/chat functions. A glance at FB and then - argh! No...it was supposed to be a 30sec mental break, not a...so then I end up shutting everything off that I can while still being able to type.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you on ALL of these posts. I have a rule on Facebook. do NOT tag me in pictures. It's for my christian friends. they don't know just how far off the band wagon I have fallen.

And then chatting. I hate it with every bone in my body. I prefer face to face conversations thank you. I can't even chat on BBM. The only "communication" I do is a status update once in a while and, of course, blogging.

I also hate getting messages from groups I have joined. I mean I don't mind them if they are once in a blue moon but when they become daily that I become agro.

Tamara said...

I'm not on FB, as you know, but I am on the chat function on Gmail and I end up setting my status to "invisible" and leaving it there because as soon as I'm visible, there's a whole bunch of people who seem to have nothing else to do you want to chat. And not just a quick "hi, how are you?"... It's like committing to a whole afternoon of it. Grrr.

Damaria Senne said...


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