It’s My Prerogative (Netiquette: Part 2)

Guest blogger Sarah Marie Powell shares more helpful netiquette advice that will have you bopping to Bobby Brown while freshening up Facebook:

While researching for last month’s Courteous Contradictions post, I came across some social-network-life-changing information in the 18th Edition of Etiquette. The good people at the Emily Post Institute reminded me of an important fact: It’s MY page.

As long as it’s done in a tactful manner, there is no reason to feel guilty for unfriending or unfollowing someone. Likewise, if someone unfriends or unfollows you, you shouldn’t take that act personally. The world of social media is growing everyday – every minute. It’s your prerogative to mold your experience to be exactly what you want. Remember those you follow affect your online reputation just as much as the words and images you personally post.

Now I’d like to hear from you, OMGG readers. What issues have you encountered in the unfriending zone? How did you handle them? What other netiquette tips do you have? I look forward to your comments!





A Broken Invisibility Cloak

I am excited to share the latest Courteous Contradictions guest post by Sarah Marie Powell! Her online etiquette advice rings true in our fast-paced, high-tech world. Personally, I fell short of polite in this area this week and totally e-gret it. This is a great reminder to keep words kind, in person and online. ~Allison

Happy 2013, OMGG readers! I hope each of your years is off to a fabulous start that continues throughout its entirety. How many of you made resolutions as the clock struck twelve? How many of you have already broken them…? Eeek! I’m not usually one to make resolutions; however this year, I decided to give it a whirl. In 2013, I want to try to be kinder. I talk about etiquette, manners, etc. all the time, but I often find myself contradicting my courteous rules in my everyday actions. That being said, my first post of the year is about netiquette – online etiquette. Seeing as the Internet is where I spend most of my time (Wait, maybe that is what I should try to change…), I figure that’s a good place to start practicing my resolution!

If I had to guess, I’d say most of you are just like me in that most of your time is spent on one or more of the following: Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Linkedin, email, and/or various blogs. Maybe you actually do some work online, too. (*wink!*) With so much time spent online these days, it’s really important to remember to invest in time spent with actual humans, but that’s for another post. (Seriously, though – put your phone/tablet/computer down.) While the Internet can be a beautiful thing, it can also bring out the beast in each and every one of us. See, we all fall into the same trap at one time or another: we believe our screens are an invisibility cloak. Well, friends, that cloak is broken. You are more visible than ever on the World Wide Web. While it is possible to press “delete,” nothing really ever goes away. I have no idea how it’s possible, but just Google “Tara Conner” for proof. This isn’t just about making sure you don’t post racy photos, folks. While that should be common sense, it should also be a given that we should treat others with the same respect we expect them to use when posting about us.

Take it from the Emily Post Institute (Emily Post’s Etiquette – 18th Edition, p.240):

Whether you’re sending an email, commenting on a blog, or writing on a friend’s Facebook page, three key considerations will help you communicate politely and effectively:
1. Human contact still matters.
2. Watch what you say – and how you say it.
3. Be careful when clicking “Send.”

To help all of us remember the importance of netiquette this year and always, I’ve come up with an acrostic (props to Mandy Handley for helping me remember that word!):





‘Tis the Season to be Thankful!

Guest post by Oh My Goodness Gracious friend Sarah Marie Powell!

This is an important post, folks! You’ll thank me in the end! We are now fully submerged in the most beautiful of seasons. If you’re a procrastinator (like me), the beauty may be lost on you at this point, but it will show itself soon enough! During this hectic time of decorating, baking, caroling, gifting, and getting, it’s important to remember how blessed we all are to have these “first world problems.” It’s important to say thanks.

Way back when, handwritten thank-you notes were borderline required upon receiving a gift. Certainly, they were expected. Nowadays, our selfish generation (okay, my selfish generation) has completely forgotten how cherished these simple notes can be. This holiday season, I charge you to take the time to write a note or two. I promise it isn’t so hard to do. To make the painstaking process easier, I’ve written a formula. Feel free to use and share it. I’m sure I’ll be famous for it one day….

Make it special…

  • If someone gives you stationery as a gift, write your note on a piece of it.
  • Include a photo, if appropriate. Example: My boyfriend’s aunt and uncle always let the two of us use their home as a hotel when we travel to Tampa. When I send their note, I like to include pictures of our trip.
  • Fit your stationery to the gift received. Example: If someone gave you tickets to an athletic event, use team-specific notes!

There are also situations that probably don’t require a full thank-you note but still beg for some sort of thanks. Find creative ways to say thank you, like (but not limited to!) these:

  • Scenario 1:A co-worker surprised you this morning with a treat from Starbucks.
    • When you finish the drink, write a quick note on the cardboard sleeve, and put it on his/her desk!
  • Scenario 2: A friend/family member sends you a Christmas/holiday card
    • Shoot them an email, IM them, tweet about it, or post a note on their Facebook wall!
  • Scenario 3: A friend whisks you away from your overflowing to-do list for drinks/dinner.
    • Tweet, Instagram, or “mupload” a photo to Facebook, publicly proclaiming how thankful you are for him/her!

Finally, I can’t do an OMGG blog post without referencing my beloved Emily Post. Here are some thank-you tips from the 18th edition of Etiquette:

Oh My Goodness Goodies: Superb Stationery Sources

  • Kate Spade: Her “All Occasion” note set (available via Papyrus) is a great staple to ensure you’re never at a loss for words.
  • Traylor Papers is a treasure for personalization addicts. Be sure to check out the Kids section for fantastic fill-in-the-blank options!
  • Snapfish is a one-stop-shop for incorporating photos into your stationery library. This extra step of personalization is a great addition to notes sent from the entire family!
  • May Designs is my new favorite. My dear friends, Helen and Charlie, recently surprised me with a pack of notes, and I simply can’t get enough!
  • Be sure to check out local paper/gift shops for fun ideas, too!





Etiquette fits everywhere – it is everywhere.

Guest post by Oh My Goodness Gracious friend Sarah Marie Powell!

A confession of my transgressions…
In all facets of my life, I am undeniably guilty of a charge once set forth by my father: “Sally, you are one hell of a contradiction.” Wow – talk about hitting the nail on the head!

  • I love fashion and shopping, but I would rather watch Sports Center than The Real Housewives;
  • I am painfully organized, but I rarely make my bed;
  • And, finally, I am overly-concerned with etiquette, but I’m likely to burp as I remind you the salt and pepper travel as a pair.

I cannot remember how I got hooked on Emily Post, but it happened, and I can’t go back. I own multiple copies of Etiquette, a first edition of The Personality of a House, and I’m currently reading Laura Claridge’s biography of my idol. This obsession has caused nauseating pain in my life. I am a glutton for punishment. Thankfully, my gracious friend Allison has now given me an outlet for my insufferable knowledge (though she may not know what she’s gotten herself into).

Allow me to (politely) set the record straight…
Once upon a time, etiquette was highly-regarded as the way of life. Everyone said please and thank you, tables were set beautifully, utensils were used correctly, and Emily Post was revered as a goddess.

Through the pages of my coveted 1945 edition of Emily Post’s Etiquette, I am able to travel to this fantasyland of a world that once was. I revel in dreams of courting, hand-written correspondence, and true ladies and gentlemen behaving as such.

We don’t live in that world anymore, and it’s a shame.

Today, delivering a thank-you note produces a shocked response, dinner is served in the living room, and you’re considered “weird” if you know any-and-everything about Emily Post.

So, where does etiquette fit in this world of 140-characters-or-less, pins, and likes? Some would say it doesn’t. I beg to differ. It fits everywhere – it is everywhere.

The first pages of the 18th edition (2011) of Etiquette prove my theory true:

Manners by their very nature adapt to the times. While today’s manners may be more situational, tailored to particular circumstances and the expectations of those around us, they remain a combination of common sense, generosity of spirit, and a few specific “rules” that help us interact thoughtfully. And as fluid as manners are, they all rest on the same fundamental principles: respect, consideration, and honesty.

That’s not enough, you say? I hear you, haters. I hear your accusations that etiquette is elitist; that following (and expecting others to follow) these unheard-of rules is snobby. Emily heard your cries, too. And way back in 1945, long before you started whining, she answered them:

One is apt to think of Etiquette as being of importance to none but brides or diplomats or persons lately elected to political office. As a matter of fact, there is not a single thing that we do, or say, or choose, or use or even think, that does not follow (or break) one of the exactions of taste, or tact, or ethics, or good manners, or etiquette – call it what you will.

Myths abound as skeptics continue to challenge my beliefs. Well, doubters, allow me to close by (politely) setting the record straight: