I spend a lot of time lurking around. Lurking in forums, lurking on twitter, lurking on blog posts, lurking on Facebook etc. Sometimes I comment. Sometimes I don't. But I watch. I watch a lot and what I see coming from some individuals is seriously appalling.
The beauty and problem in the internet is that you can be everywhere from the comfy spot on your sofa or in your bedroom. In fact, you can be anyone, if you want. This means that people have this sense of security. You can say whatever because there's not going to be any physical repercussions. No one's going to come to your house and call you out face to face. Which is a cowards way of thinking. These same people are the ones who leave malicious reviews on Goodreads. They are the ones who leave anonymous comments on blog posts. They are the ones who create Twitter accounts just to heckle people. They are the ones who send abusive emails and purposely create arguments on forums.
It has to stop. There is an etiquette we should all be following. And here's what I think it is:
- Be respectful. Sounds simple enough, but often, people say nasty things to others without thinking of how that's going to make that person feel. How would you like if that was done to you?
- Be graceful. Okay, your dream agent rejects you. Grumble to yourself as you read through the email again and MOVE ON. There is no point in replying with abuse. It isn't going to get you anywhere and it'll end up blacklisting you with other agents because, guess what, AGENTS TALK.
- Be civil. This goes for everyone. Starting up hate campaigns on Twitter or blogs or forums about an author, a book, an actress, a wrongful querier isn't the most mature or civil thing to do. You have an issue with someone? Moan to your friends, in private, and get over it. Things happen. A book isn't for everyone. A querier might have been rude. But dedicating your time into publicly humiliation? You're better than that.
- Be positive. I see a lot of people who only comment to be negative. On a forum, someone will post about a new agent they have found and want to share. Mr. Negative will come along and begin to grumble and complain that this agent has no sales. Well duh! They're new. Of course they won't. This same Mr. Negative will reply to agents/editors/authors to disagree with whatever they have posted. It's fine to disagree. It's fine to have a different opinion. But it's not cool to set out just to be negative about everything.
- Be Real. If you wouldn't say or do something to someone's face, don't do it online. If you would be scared to go up to a writer and tell them that their work sucks to their face, then don't write a blog post about it. Just be you and remember that a computer is not for hiding behind.
And that is my etiquette list! Sorry if this is a downer post, but I've seen a lot of bad attitudes around the internet globe as recent and I fell like I have to do something about it. Agree with my list? Disagree? I would love to hear about it in the comments.
Have a nice day!c