Thursday, November 29, 2007

Netiquette Question....

Netiquette is Internet Etiquette. The following question came in from an FOJ, who shall remain anonymous :-)

What do you think is the correct answer to his dilemma?

(My thoughts are at the bottom)

He writes:

I am emailing you because I consider you to be an expert on email etiquette and online networks.

By now you may or may not have seen my invitation to you to join Doostang.

I wanted to "connect with" perhaps 10 people and I inadvertently invited my entire gmail address book who aren't already Doostang members to join Doostang. You might be able to imagine how this happened.

I wanted to find friends who were already on Doostang and "connect with" them so I used my gmail email address and password on the Doostang website to do this. It then found and checked the boxes next to everyone in my address book who were already members AND it checked the boxes next to everyone in my address book who are not yet members.

So I unchecked the people who are already members who I did not want to "connect with" (like someone in the Admissions Office of Fordham Law School who I don't know at all). I then neglected to uncheck the boxes of everyone else who isn't already a member. I then carelessly clicked on "Connect with Friends".

There are over 400 email addresses in my gmail address book and voila, I had just sent an email to nearly all of them.

I just wanted to make sure that my instinct is correct and I should not email my entire address book to apologize. Rather, I am just going to apologize if people respond to me asking me what is going on or to remove them from this list. One person already has and please see the PS for the text of what I responded. I am assuming that most people who don't know me or barely know me are just going to delete the Doostang invitation.

On a somewhat surprising note, a partner at the law firm where I used to be a paralegal, and with whom I am not all in touch, accepted my Doostang invitation!

Any advice would be most appreciated.

Thank you,


(Name withheld)

PS Here is the text of my response to someone who responded to me.

Mr. [Name Removed],

I am really sorry. I wanted to send the Doostang invitation to perhaps 10 people. I inadvertently sent it to my entire gmail address book.

Once I did that, though, I did not want to send yet one more piece of unnecessary email to my entire gmail address book apologizing for doing so. I am sending a personal apology to whomever responds to me as you did Mr. [Name Removed].

My apologies again,

It's a tough call to generalize about all 400 people's responses, of course. For those who already like you, like me, I'll just ignore it and move on. It's not enough to damage our relationship and you don't do it very often (unlike those annoying Vampire=referrers on Facebook), so you are probably ok just moving on.

Your response to the person who wrote to you was right on, so that was ok. No need to contact all 400 probably.

The last part, I would think is that, possibly, you can use this as an opportunity for a segment of your 400.

Not all of your contacts are equal.

  • some will not lose any respect for you (like me)
  • some will respond (like the guy who did)
  • and some may be on the fence

You can write to those in your gmail book in group 3 w/whom you have less contact and offer them an apology, acknowledging that you made a mistake (which can be a great sign of strength), and then use that to strengthen your personal bond with them.

Work and enhance your network relationship and linkages.

Follow up with a call for 5 minutes to chat, send an article that you know s/he might find relevant. Re-connect in some way so that, next time you mess up, you can count that person as "solidly in your camp," the way you can count me.

Will it take some time to go through your list of 400 and figure out to whom you should reach out? Yes, of course, but you are only as valuable as your network is strong (I've blogged about this a lot, here and here, for example), so it is probably worth it.

And, thanks for considering me a guru, though it's probably not deserved.

Wonder what others think...

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