Blogs > Jim Collins' Editor's Notebook

Jim Collins is editor emeritus of The News-Herald and also serves as executive in residence at Lakeland Community College. His popular weekly column appears each Sunday in Comment in The News-Herald.

Friday, February 28, 2014

I’ll answer every email, but don’t bother me with Facebook or LinkedIn

I’m in the mood to write a love letter today, so I think I will write one – to you.
Yes, this is a love note to all of you who read this column, because I just want you to know how much I appreciate you.
And I also appreciate all the nice notes you send me. But not if they are blog notes. I never read blog notes.
There is a paragraph at the end of this column every Sunday advising you that you may leave me a message if you wish. But that applies to people who read the column on the internet as a blog. The problem we have is, that would entail me looking up the column on the internet and reading the responses.
I never call up the column on the internet. In fact, I don’t call up much of anything on the internet. It presents too much of a challenge.
Now, with email messages, that is a different matter entirely. I respond to every email message, if only to say “thank you.”
At least, I try to. The problem here is that I get email messages at three different addresses – at the newspaper, at the college and at home. And replying to them can be a problem because I don’t look at them every day.
I look at them five days a week at the college, one day a week at the paper and, at home, whenever I remember to turn on the computer.
That can be as rarely as once every three weeks. Why so seldom? Three reasons: 1) I just don’t remember to turn the thing on that often. 2) There are a lot of important papers piled on top of the computer (because it has a flat surface) and it is far too much trouble to move them. And 3) it takes too long for the thing to warm up.
A few months ago, I switched my computer line from AT&T to Time Warner, for one reason, to save money, and for another, because it would be, they boasted, 45 percent faster.
Well, guess what? It is about 900 percent slower. I think the guy from TW must have oiled it with molasses. After I turn the thing on, I can leave the room, read a couple chapters of a book, take a shower, ask the lady of the house if she needs any help with anything, such as doing the laundry (she doesn’t), making the bed (she doesn’t) or feeding the dogs, the cats and the birds (she doesn’t), or running to the store to pick up the other paper.
They only deliver the darned thing four days a week. The News-Herald is delivered seven days a week, thank you very much.
And hooray for that! But I digress.
As I was saying, I try to answer all the emails, even if only with a brief thought.
But let me interject something here. One thing I never do is sign up to be someone’s LinkedIn pal. I have never done that. Never will.
Last week, I got 37 requests to be someone’s friend on LinkedIn. That makes a total of slightly over 800 such requests since LinkedIn was invented.
Maybe it is my suspicious nature, but I do not know why anyone would want to be my friend on LinkedIn. Also, I am afraid of why they are seeking my friendship on a computer screen.
Perhaps they want to borrow money. Maybe they have me confused with someone who won the lottery. Maybe they just want to gossip on the computer.
I am not interested in any of that. Moreover, I do not have Facebook. That is for people who are bored out of their minds and don’t have any Stan Kenton records to listen to.
So, as far as Linked In and Facebook are concerned, include me out.
Now, what was I saying? Oh yes. About answering email from readers.
I got one of the nicest of all time the other day. From someone (or two) who have two dogs and two cats, as we do, and who open all of their junk mail (requests for money and information) and send it to Waste Management, as we do.
Here’s the problem: It was signed Dan Judy Cogan. Is that a husband/wife team? Is it one person with two first names? Is it an odd mixture of what would seem to be male and female names?
I just don’t know, so I didn’t know how to respond, except very respectfully, because I do not want to offend a guy named Dan who has Judy for a middle name (I have a son-in-law named Dan and he is a big guy but his middle name is not Judy), and I also do not want too offend Judy if her real first name is Dan.
These are the kind of problems you can run into when you write a column. I don’t imagine the World’s Greatest Columnist, Mike Roberts of Cleveland Magazine, has these sorts of concerns, because he writes about more important stuff.
And I would write about more important stuff too, except that I don’t know enough about it and I don’t have time to look anything up.
Normally, that would be the end of the column, except I just ended it with a preposition, and I can ill-afford to do that.
So remember, don’t send me any blogs. And don’t ask me to join you in LinkedIn or on Facebook.


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