Monday, March 14, 2011
MY special guest blogger today is Ginger Simpson. Ginger, take it away.
My Thanks to Elaine for hosting me today on this leg of my blog tour. Email has become such a large part of my life that I can't imagine living without it. Cybespace is where my friends live, where my publishers wait for my submissions, and the major way in which I communicate with everyone. I thought it only fitting that I share what I view as some of the most annoying practices. I would like to point out that although I find them bothersome, that doesn't mean that I'm not also an offender.
Using all caps. - From day one, it's been drilled into my head that if you type in ALL CAPITALS, you're yelling. I hate to be yelled at, don't you? But give someone the benefit of the doubt. I once mentioned the faux pas to someone and she informed me that she has only one arm.
Forwarding. - Something that makes me want to type in all caps... those who haven't learned how to forward a message so that every previous email address to which the post was sent doesn't appear. How many times have you had to click ten times to get to the meat of the message? Annoying isn't it? The answer is simple...hit forward from the actual message you want to send. Don't close it up and go back to page one and forward or you're sending pages and pages of email addresses. Although I've often been tempted to send every email listed a promotional message about my books, I've refrained. Besides, most people don't want their emails forwarded from one place to another. That's why there's the bcc: line. And...there is a wonderful little tool called "email stripper" you can download to clean up those messy forwards.
Subject Lines - Wouldn't it be nice if we all remembered to change the subject line and make it fit the content of the message? Ever scan through digested messages and find yourself amazed that only one topic was discussed in all the posts? I recently opened a message that said "sad news" and it contained someone's 4-star book review. Didn't seem all that sad to me.
Typing urls with spaces and words - If you're going to give someone a link to your page, why not type it as such? It's so much easier to click on a link than to have to type the whole thing out. Use the whole address. And if you type it as a link...check your spelling.
Signature Lines - Nothing is more annoying than receiving an email that has a signature line longer than the message. If you're multi-published, rather than listing every book in your sig line, how about using a tag line or a link to where the books can be viewed. Chances are people aren't going to read through the entire list anyhow. Your signature line shouldn't be viewed as a post of its own.
Receiving 'lucky emails' - Please don't send me emails that threaten bad luck if I don't send it on to seven people within the next ten minutes, or promises an outpouring of money if I do. I don't believe yet I'm always afraid not to comply. Spare me the angst.
Digest Users - While I also use digest and realize it's value, the thing I find most annoying about it is being drawn back to a conversation that has already been discussed and settled. As a group moderator, I've often handled someone who's acted inappropriately only to have a 'digestee' bring up the whole settled manner all over again. I'm not sure there's a solution other than reading everything before responding.
As I said, I'm probably guilty of half the things that bother me. I especially get disgruntled at clicking on response messages that say, "thank you," "congratulations", "good going." I wonder, wouldn't these best be sent to personal emails, but then it's so much easier to just hit 'reply'. I deplore clipped messages that don't give any hint about what the sender is responding to. These are usually digest people who just read last Sunday's message and are answering on the following Friday. A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then. Give me a clue. :)
The biggest problem I encounter in email is the lack of tone. People can't see your face, your smile or hear the chuckle in your voice. Don't make them guess when you're kidding. Give them an emoticon clue. :) Of course, then you risk becoming addicted to them and typing them throughout everything, like I do. *lol* goes a long way to giving someone an indication of your tone. Unfortunately, email has taken the place of phone calls and face-to-face meetings, and there are just some things you can't personalize no matter how hard you try.
I'll also remind you to be careful when forwarding emails. I once found myself in the midst of a giant mess because someone sent a personal email to an entire loop. I didn't do or say anything wrong, but my name was mentioned in the post. No one was interested in an explanation and I found myself invited to go to hell and ostracized by people that once liked me. It was a horrible experience and left me paranoid. Look at the "to:" address before you click send.
Misdirected emails happen more often than you realize. Although, as I said, I didn't send the post nor did I have anything to do with composing it, I now make it a common practice to watch what I say. There is no confidentiality in email and what you say might come back and bite you in the butt. I have no desire to have teeth marks in my derrière.
While I'm on the topic of cyberspace, there is a lot more to consider than just email. Computer dating is all the rage, and although it can result in a happy union, it can also be devastating. Such is the case in my book, Embezzled Love. That charming guy who seems like a dream just might turn into a nightmare. Here's a sample for you:
She turned her attention back to her email. Most of the other messages were spam. She hated that. There should be a way to stop people from littering your inbox with crap!
The scroll key took her back to the message from Blue Eyes. It seemed that everyone picked a corny screen name for themselves. She had selected Dream Weaver. She nervously clicked on the message:
I saw your profile on Perfectmatch.com and thought Id jot a quick note to you. It sounds like we may have some things in common and Id like to have the opportunity to get to know you a little better. I notice you didnt post a picture of yourself; I didnt either. I dont have any current ones, but check out my info on the site and if you like what you read, would you be willing to share you phone number? By the way, my eyes are blue and my name is Evan.
Oh, God, what am I doing? She eyed the delete key and pondered using it. Her shoulders sagged.
What are you thinking, Cass? When did you get so desperate that youre shopping for men on the internet? Hes probably butt ugly.
She pushed back from the desk and started to stand, but her eyes drifted back to the message still displayed on the screen. God, was she the loser she felt she waspitiful and unable to meet a man face-to-face? But, what if this was her knight in shining armor? She slid the chair forward, and leaning with elbows resting on the desk, she propped her face in her palms and read the message once again. Again she fingered the delete key, but
What would it hurt to just read about him?
She typed the dating site URL, entered her password, then scanned the page for the search option and keyed in Evans screen name. Again, the slowness of her computer irritated her. The blinking lights on the tower indicated processing, but it seemed to take forever.
Impatiently, she raked her fingers through her long, dark hair, tucking it behind her ears while she admonished herself. Okay, so you will read his bio and thats all. You posted the ad, someone responded and now you can delete both the profile and the message. You are above finding a man on the internetonly losers use this method.
On his profile page, just like on hers, there was a large empty space where a photo should be. She anxiously scanned his vital information, hoping to see something that would be an immediate turnoff. Unfortunately, he sounded better than average; at least better than what she had encountered in person.
Hmmm. Five foot eleven inches, sandy blond hair, non-smoker, occasional drinker, owns his own business and looking for a confident woman who would like to share some good times and possibly more. Blah, blah, blah. Lets chat.
She mentally added the blue eyes to the image in her mind. He didnt sound so bad. The only thing she would change was his height. She stood five foot ten and liked really tall guys.
Stop it. It doesnt matter if hes only five feet tall; you are not going to meet him anyhow.
She quickly rose and walked away. Maybe taking a shower would wash these stupid notions out of her mind.
It didnt help. The warm water was refreshing but thoughts of Evan were firmly planted in her mind. She didnt understand this sudden bout of desperation to find someone. Sure, her status at work had changed. She still had the same title, but wasnt treated with the respect she once had. She couldnt change her profession at this stage of her life, but having someone to share her off hours and personal life would certainly be an improvement.
She turned off the water and grabbed a towel. She glanced at the reflection of her nude body in the mirror and smiled. Im not so bad for an old broad.
Clad in her robe with a towel on her head, Cassie walked out of the bathroom and down the stairs. Her nightly routine of removing her make-up made her wonder why she went to so much trouble to look glamorous. In the laundry room, she paused to hang the damp terrycloth on the side of the hamper and let her hair hang free. She ran her fingers through the wet tangles as she strode toward the kitchen to turn out the lights.
The inside of her mouth felt like cotton. She opened the refrigerator, and despite all the childhood warnings issued by her mother, Cass took a big swig from the milk carton. Mom was snug in her own part of the house and would never know.
Cassie wiped the wetness from her upper lip on the back of her hand then reached over the sink to switch off the overhead fixture. She headed for the bedroom, but as she passed through the living room, the multi-colored blocks on her computer screensaver in her adjacent office caught her attention.
She sighed and walked to her desk. I guess I should turn the stupid thing off before it explodes. As soon as she touched the mouse, his profile appeared, Blue Eyes. Despite her better judgment, Cass pulled out the chair, sat, and clicked back to her email screen and started typing.
Glad you answered. This is my first time doing this, but then I bet everyone says that. I never thought Id be corresponding with a mystery man.
I read your profile and liked what little I read, but Id like to know more about you, too. I consider myself to be an independent woman and, like most others out there, I would like to meet the right guy. Ive been married once, but he certainly wasnt the one. What kind of business do you own, Evan? Im in the insurance business and live alone in the San Fernando Valley. Where are you? I think its a little too soon for a phone number exchange. Do you mind if we just email one another for a bit?
Hope to hear from you soon.
Before she had a chance to change her mind, she hit the send button. She turned off the computer, wondering what possessed her to be so impulsive so desperate.
This is a ture story based on my sister's experience with her dream guy. If you enjoyed this sample and would like to see how the story played out, you can find Embezzled Love at http://www.lbfbooks.com. It's also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I have a few copies myself and I'm always willing to sign one although I still have problems believing anyone would want my signature on something other than a check. Be sure to follow me on March 16th when I take up space at Lisabet Sarai's blog. http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com Again, thanks to my hostess, Elaine for allowing me to blog here today.
Come back soon, Ginger.