Ms. Interwebz: Dweeters And Disgruntlement
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Ms. Interwebz: Dweeters And Disgruntlement

Minding your Ps and Qs during the holidays

She’s baack! And none too soon as it seems that the Interwebz have been buzzing about the Ms. Herself!

What’s more, now that the holidays are fast approaching, it’s essential that we start minding our Ps and Qs when it comes to social etiquette, engagement and networking.

Alexandra writes:

Hi Ms. Interwebz,

What do you recommend when a Twitter follower starts to DM you (probably dweeting) and gets very suggestive, including trying to send inappropriate photos of himself? I unfollowed him and so on, but never said anything to his other followers, who believe him to be an enlightened sort.

Dear Alexandra,

You’ve taken the appropriate, self-preserving steps to shut down the “dweeter” and remove him from your life stream.

However, it’s important to ask yourself what is to be gained by broadly sharing information among other followers with whom you may or may not be intimately involved, and examine your goals. Is your goal to prevent harm or to shatter the illusion he has created around himself?

As Anais Nin said, “we don’t see things as they are; we see things as we are,” and his followers may not understand or believe him capable of such heinous behavior.

A Disgruntled Techie writes:

Dear Ms. Interwebz,

I recently attended a conference where all devices were banned. The reason? The organizers wished to ensure that the audience members paid attention to the speakers.

However, they also were filming and didn’t want the lighted screens from devices to interfere with the picture.

Truly, is the Tech Age or the Ice Age? I almost resorted to caveman scribbles to share my thoughts with the person I was sitting with.

Dear Disgruntled Techie,

This is a tough one. Do you text at the dinner table or on a date? Do you tweet when you are out with friends? Are you constantly checking your email during meetings?

Our growing connectedness means that we are rarely disconnected. Electronic devices have become our means of escaping, disappearing without actually leaving the room.

And while psychologists and sociologists alike agree that dissociating is part of everyday life and can even benefit creativity and intellectual flow, there is a threshold where it almost becomes pathological and detrimental to efficiency, not to mention to our relationships and ability to relate to one another.

Maybe the question is not whether the conference organizers were correct in setting that particular rule but rather, how and why it affected your conference experience?

Were you more engaged or less? Did you sneak a few texts or glimpses at your email to rebel?

Finally, are you addicted to your device? Or can you forgo the fix for the possibility of pleasure elsewhere? Only you can decide.

Have a pressing question about social etiquette, engagement or networking? Ms. Interwebz is here to help, just shoot her an email.


Image: sisterbeer via Flickr, Creative Commons

Regular contributor Liz Scherer aka “Ms. Interwebz” continues to learn (and break) the social netiquette rules on a daily basis. A digital writer and consultant, Liz specializes in health/medicine/wellness. She produces Flashfree which brings her closer to her goal to engage, entertain and provide women in midlife with the tools to make informed decisions about their health. In addition to her blog, you can find Liz on Twitter or LinkedIn.


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  1. Some fine advice Liz, I am glad I saw @Shashib‘s tweet leading me here… I now know what a dweeter is.

    The point about devices at conferences, I really was taken back by the whole back channel thing when I first learned of it. Is it getting more popular or less popular at current conferences. (Yes, we’re all addicted to our mobile devices!) 🙂

  2. Great reminder about how many of us mistake our electronic distractions for communications. Reminded me of a host’s solution to a couple of overly-connected relatives: we now ban all electronics before 9pm at our family Thanksgiving reunion.

  3. Excellent suggestions, especially as they cause us to examine ourselves, which we CAN control. Thank you for the helpful, thought-provoking answers.

  4. @Joe Hackman Joe – not sure if it’s getting more or less popular at conferences. But it does seem that it’s becoming a consideration. Personally? I believe that context is important as well as content, if that makes. Thanks for your comment.

    @Patricia Frame Patricia! Wow! I’ve heard of families banning devices at the table but it sounds as though yours’ is truly in the spirit of giving…to one another. Have a happy, wireless holiday!

    @Alexandra Williams Alexandra – thank you for the Dweeter fodder. And hope that the situation has calmed for you.

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