Best to just ignore mother-in-law’s annoying posts on Facebook
Enthusiastic, ALL-CAP comments will give your other Facebook friends a chuckle
Our new online etiquette columnist, Karen Cleveland.
Wondering whether to like, block, pin or post? Our new online etiquette columnist, Karen Cleveland, will be answering your questions about life online. She believes manners make the world a better place — and your virtual life is no exception. Tweet her your questions: @SchoolFinishing
How great for your mother-in-law — and for all of your other friends on Facebook who might get a giggle from her enthusiastic commenting. It’s sweet that she’s taken an interest in your social life (see what I did there?).
Are her comments harmless and simply abundant? Is this really something worth addressing, at the risk of ruffling some delicate feathers? The comments you’re sweating speak for themselves. Anyone else reading them likely knows who is posting them and will likely laugh them off with an “aw shucks” lightheartedness.
What is the appropriate way to sign an email? My contact’s “warm regards” make me feel moist and clammy.
Emails without any sign-off are the worst — talk about leaving someone hanging. An email sign-off is great and an appropriate one is even better.
“Appropriate” is the operative word here, depending entirely on who’s going to receive the email.
On the scale of familiar to formal, Xs and Os must be reserved for your closest friends and family. “Sincerely” belongs on messages that would otherwise be most at home on paper, handwritten in ink. When I read a message signed with “cheers” or “ciao,” I pray those words are part of the sender’s everyday vocabulary (otherwise, it comes off as trying too hard).
The tone of “best” switches, depending on the punctuation that follows. “Watch this. Best, Karen” — looks nice, right? “Best. KC” — looks a bit bitchy.
The final consideration is that the sign-off should match the message. Plans for meeting up for a drink, ended with “sincerely” is incongruous, just like a job offer ending with “xoxo.”
Is it OK to Photoshop my Instagram photos? Lindsay Lohan does it.
Whatever Lindsay Lohan does is often a very good gauge for what not to do. The better question here is: Why Photoshop your Instagram photos? The friends who follow you will know that your waist has been whittled or your gams lengthened, so why bother? You’re not pulling any fast ones. Now, touching up a blemish is another matter.
Perhaps the better gauge is that, if a product can fix it up, then let tech do it for you (red eyes or a nasty pimple, for example). But photo modifications that would require surgery or a diet of fish and greens for four months aren’t fooling anyone. If you treat your photos the way Lindsay Lohan does, you just might welcome the sort of comments that are on her feed — and the eyerolls she gets offline, too.
I just got engaged. Should we be using a hashtag for our wedding tweets?
Congratulations! Of course you can use a hashtag for your wedding. You can also serve anchovies for dessert, it’s your party.
A hashtag helps consolidate all your guests’ photos for the night, so it’s a smart idea for the social-media savvy. However, not everyone will share your enthusiasm. In fact, for every guest hashtagging your beautiful centrepieces, two more might roll their eyes.
Who cares? If you plan your wedding with the intention of making everyone happy, you’ll be serving 100 different entrees and finding a gluten-free vegan paleo organic dessert. As a traditionalist (though of the modern variety), I think hashtagging your wedding takes an intimate event and turns it into something really, really public.
But hey, it’s your party. Hashtag if you want to.
Each week, etiquette expert Karen Cleveland answers your questions about life online. Tweet her your questions: @SchoolFinishing.
(Originally appeared in the Toronto Star, May 2015)