Sunday, September 21, 2008

Internet Etiquette

Interaction on the Internet is more pleasant and more effective if people observe a
few simple rules.
Lurk before your leap. If you come across a mailing list or chat room dealing with, say, your favorite author, you may want to jump in with news about the author’s latest blog or latest love affair. If you lurk for a while, you may find that the topic has been talked to death for the last three weeks and what you wanted to say has been said 30 times.
Don’t go up in flames. Flaming is sending vulgar or insulting messages to someone you think has made a mistake, revealed ignorance, or expressed an opinion you find distasteful. A response that is pointed, well reasoned, and brief is much more powerful than an emotional tirade.
Don’t create or forward spam. Spam is junk mail or inappropriate messages—everything from advertisements to pyramid schemes. Delete any spam that you receive and never forward it. You can buy software to filter out stuff from known spammers.
Be security conscious. Never reveal your password and never look over the shoulders of others while they are logging on. They might think you want to steal their password. Don’t use an obvious password, such as your name spelled backward or the name of your dog.
The most secure password is a combination of numbers and letters. If you think you might forget your password—and you might—write it down and stash it in a safe place.

E-mail and Netiquette

The ease of e-mail makes it ideal for casual correspondence, but it should be seen as a supplement to, and not a replacement for, other types of correspondence. Some situations
demand a formal letter, a telephone call, or a handwritten note.
The rules of grammar and usage are not suspended for e-mail. Exotic punctuation, such as dashes, slashes, and dots, makes the copy hard to read and gives it a juvenile look, like signing a letter with Xs and Os. If your system has a spell checker, use it, no matter how good a speller you think you are.
Picturing your correspondence printed out and tacked to a bulletin board will help control the temptation to use e-mail gimmicks. Always use the subject line to let the reader know what the message is about. Tabs and centered or justified text can be lost in transmission. Type single-spaced with a blank line between paragraphs. Using all lowercase makes the message look trivial. All uppercase is equivalent to shouting.
If you want to forward a message, check first with the original author of the message. You also should get permission before passing around another person’s e-mail address; in addition, tell people where you got their address when you are sending them e-mail for the first time.
When sending e-mail internationally, keep the language formal. Casual language, slang, or jokes can confuse and/or annoy someone from another culture.

How to Unblock in a Letter?

“I never know what to say.”
Even people who use this excuse for not writing a letter or note know that it is lame.
What they mean is, “I don’t know how to approach this thing—how to get started.”
Every writer knows that the best way to beat writer’s block is to write. Get the words,
even the wrong words, flowing, and the right words will come along. So, when you
decide to write a note, begin with scrap paper. Write a draft or two before you get out
the good notepaper.
Even in our age of technological marvels, written correspondence retains a certain
power and charm that cellular phones, fax machines, and e-mail can’t replace. A carefully
prepared, thoughtfully written letter on nice stationery is a treasure—something
to be put away and saved, to be enjoyed over and over. It’s a gift that enriches both
the sender and the receiver.

Monday, September 8, 2008

How to Write Letter Closings?

A closing to your note should reflect the nature of your relationship with the recipient. A flat yours truly will disappoint and perhaps offend a close friend. Leave the L word alone unless the recipient is a very close friend. Here are some closings listed in a more or less declining order of intimacy.
All my love Affectionately
Best love Warmly
Much love Best regards
Love Regards
Fondly Or just sign the thing

The following type of letter would receive love as a closing:

Dear Sandy:
You know me so well! I’m dashing through my living room in another headlong rush to another boring meeting, and I see your flowers and remember your admonition, “Take time to smell the flowers.” So, I am taking time—time to write this note and time to smell the flowers. They smell wonderful. They smell like friendship.

How to Insert Quotes?

“No wise man ever wished to be younger.”
Jonathan Swift

Sometimes a quote sends just the right message. Every library has books of quotations. A paperback book of quotes for your library is a good investment even if it comes to your rescue only once.
You can even use a tired old saw such as “You inherit your family but you choose your friends.” But you have to follow up with something like “With you in my family, I feel as if I am an heir to a fortune.” Or “I am so glad you chose me to be a friend.”

How to Write Letter Openers?

You can always use these perennial openers:
  • What a … can be followed by great trip, nifty surprise, grand occasion, or excellent gift. Another similar beginning is That was a ….
  • I was thinking (or remembering) ….
  • I can’t tell you how much ….
You can probably come up with a few perennials of your own. When you find a good one, write it down for future use. But remember that perennials wear easily and should be used sparingly.

How to Write Notes?

Sometimes you have a great thought about a certain person or situation that you
want to share. Of course, you can always place a phone call, but you know what usually happens. You have an idea of what you want to say, not the exact words, but an idea. You may hesitate. The other person says something. The mood shifts. The moment is gone.
On paper you can say exactly what you want to say, and you can take your time in
finding the very words that you know will please the object of your thoughts, affection,
A note can work the magic. It doesn’t have to be long (Wish I was there—with you).
It doesn’t have to be poetic (I wish you chicken soup). It doesn’t have to be particularly
clever (It was great to see you last week. Happily, you haven’t changed a bit).
While drafting your note, think about these points:
  • The recipient. Is it an intimate friend, someone you feel affection for, a person you know and like and would like to know better, someone you know only slightly? A personal reference to that individual or to your relationship separates your note from the anonymous platitudes on printed greeting cards.
  • The occasion. A birthday is not the same as a confirmation or bar mitzvah. Are you sharing someone’s joy, offering condolences, helping to mark a milestone in life?
  • The root message. When you know what you want to say, you can find pleasing or proper ways of delivering the message. Some root messages are …
I love you.
I miss you.
Thank you.
Sorry you’re sick.

When writing a note on an informal note card, don’t write anything on the front if it
has a monogram in the center of the page. Short notes go inside under the fold. If the
note is longer, lay the paper out flat, start the note at the top of the page, and continue
onto the bottom half of the back page. Sometimes you cannot write on the back of
the monogram or engraving because of the indentation.

How to Write Complaint Letters?

One situation in which a face-to-face conversation is preferable to a letter is when you have a complaint about the behavior of a neighbor or friend. Keep things as pleasant and nonconfrontational as possible.
However, a letter to a retailer, business, or government agency is sometimes necessary.
Keep your letter as unemotional as possible and state the facts emphatically.
Keep a copy of the letter and follow up within a week with a telephone call.

To Whom It May Concern:
On May 1, 1996, I purchased a Populux 5000 dishwasher from your firm, and it was installed at my home a week later. I have had trouble with it ever since.
First, there was a leak under my sink. Your repairman came four days after I reported the leak and left without fixing it, saying he did not have a certain part with him. When he did not return within three days, I called to complain. Two days after that, he returned.
He worked for more than two hours in my kitchen. When he left, the leak was fixed, but the dishwasher did not work at all. I called again, and another repairman came three days after the call. He said the problem was with the wiring in my kitchen and that I should call an electrician. I did. The electrician said the wiring is fine and charged me $45. I have now had this dishwasher for one month and have yet to wash a single dish in it. Because your people apparently are unable to repair this machine, you should replace it or refund my purchase price. Please contact me as soon as possible concerning this matter.
Paula Smith