The Tech Etiquette Manual
You feel a friend is embarrassing herself by giving away too much personal information on her blog. How do you tell her?
Smith: Say that you love her blog but since some readers don’t know her as well as you do, they may misinterpret what she’s saying.
If she gets defensive, back off. But if the information on her blog is creating a safety issue―like she could be attracting
a stalker―you’re morally obligated to tell her.
Schwalbe: I’d pose it as a question, such as “How do you decide what’s too personal for your blog?” That gives her the opportunity to proclaim a philosophy (in which case, it’s her business) or to admit that she doesn’t have one. In that instance, your input might be welcomed.
Fox: Unsolicited advice is hard to give, but it is necessary to speak up in a situation like this. Before giving specific examples of content you find troublesome for her professional or personal life, make it clear that you are saying something only out of concern and not judging her.
Can you ignore someone who “friends” you?
Post: Yes. Giving someone you don’t entirely trust access to personal information is a safety issue.
Blecher: If people in your network can post and view photos and funny comments about you, it’s best to restrict access to people who are truly your friends.
Smith: Of course! If it’s someone you see too frequently to just ignore the request, simply tell her that you try to keep a low profile on networking sites and leave it at that.
Should you always accept a request from a colleague on a professional-networking site?
Post: It really depends on how well you know the person who is making the request. Your profile is a snapshot of your professional
image, so your online connections should only ever be advantageous to your career.
Blecher: Not necessarily. The person who is asking should know you well enough to have a sense of whether you would want to join her network or not before she sends the invitation. If she doesn’t know you but wants to, she shouldn’t blindly try to connect over one of these networks. She should ask a mutual contact to introduce you either by separate e-mail or in person.
Smith: Since accepting may provide information about you and all your contacts to anyone in the other person’s network (and their contacts, etc.), it’s better to leave the request perpetually pending.
Is there a polite way to use call waiting?
Post: It depends on whom you’re talking to. Your grandmother might mind if you use it, but a friend would probably be OK with it.
If you do need to take the call, excuse yourself, then immediately tell the second person that you’ve got someone waiting
on the other line and need to get back to him.
Forni: There is. If you’re on a social call and there is a chance you’ll be interrupted by a client or a coworker, and especially your boss, tell your friend at the beginning of the conversation that if you get another call, you’ll need to take it.
Fox: Make your decision based on whom you’re speaking with. Conversely, if you’re the first caller and you’re left hanging for too long, hang up. Your time is important, too.
When it comes to the do’s and don’ts, you’ve got lots of questions. Here, solutions for making the season merry and bright.