Friday, March 1, 2013

Guest Post::: Maddie {Thriftary} Let's Talk About Emails...

OH HELLO fellow Janee enthusiasts! My name is Maddie, and you can normally find me over at Thriftary, but today I am blog bombing the ever amazing Yellow Bird + Yellow Beard to chat with you about something that is a passion of mine. Emails. I promise that I have cooler passions as well, so come on my Thriftary and say hello if you ever have the time!


OK... OK... I am not really one to publicly rant. And I don't think this is a rant. What I'm saying is... I lied. I don't think ranting is very attractive or effective. But I AM one to share my opinions. And I hope that my opinions alone will be educational. Maybe you will take a nugget away? Maybe you'll read an think "holla! I hear ya!" or maybe not. But I still wrote them. So, feel free to read or not read :)

Vague introduction, much?

SIDE NOTE: My fingers are so cold right now, that my computer mouse is having a hard time computing that my finger is even actually touching it. Now THAT is cold! Come on ol' Craftsman home... HEAT BABY. HEAT!

Anywho. This subject is really important to me, because I think it says a lot about my generation. And I am passionate about not continuing negative stereotypes about my generation when it comes to the phenomenon that is the interwebs. Yes. It has changed us, and the world we live in... but it doesn't have to be for the worst. And not like liverwurst. That would be a really strange product of the interwebs phenomenon... We all just turn into liverwurst. What?

Recently, at my 9-5 and in blogland... I have been really taken aback by some of the emails that people feel OK clicking "Send" on. Now I KNOW these same people wouldn't be caught dead using the same manner code that they use for emails, as they do in real life. I just know it.

Problem: I find it very hard to believe that anyone who has any sense of social awareness, would dive into a conversation with someone they don't know, and lead with something like "Can you please give me some cash from your pocket?" or "Hi, would you mind making me a sandwich?"
I see this ALL the time in blog world. I just know, deep down in my heart, that these same people don't start conversations in real life without introducing themselves by name, asking how I am doing, telling me a bit about themselves, offering some reference points on where this conversation is leading... If you are still confused... ask any girl scout or homeless person. You need a pitch.
Solution: Think about how YOU like to be asked for something. I am sure... just like myself, that you LOVE helping people. That you are EXCITED to meet new bloggers, expand your network, and help people out the same way that you like to be helped out. I'm sure it's completely mutual. But via email... you have to SPELL THIS OUT. Start your emails by introducing yourself. Let the receiver know where you blog, what your blog is about, make it personal. Treat the receiver as a friend, rather than a means to an end. Let them get to know YOU, and show that you are genuinely interested in getting to know THEM, not just landing a space on their sidebar.

Problem: I know that it is hard to start a correspondence and friendship with every blogger that we reach out to. That is a lot of people! And it's hard to start every correspondence out with "will you be my friend?"... In fact.. I am not even sure how well that would work at all haha. I would definitely say yes.. but that is because I am a friend hoarder. I just love friends. Some people may be cooler than me, and they don't need any more friends. And that is OK too. BUT there is still a way to be a professional blogger, an excellent networker, and a likable corespondent, even when the correspondence is brief. Solution: Compliment a person! Didn't your mom ever tell you that the quickest way to break through someone's guard, is to tell them that "your legs look amazing in those skinnies!" or "the way those piercings on your face all connect, is really intricate and beautiful." In emails, it is a great way to let the receiver know that a) you didn't copy and paste your email from the LAST 10 emails that you sent to other bloggers that you are trying to get things from and b) you actually like me + the reason you want to partner with my blog isn't just because of a silly GFC #, but because you like my style and it compliments yours, and you think that my readers would like your blog too! So the sandwich is... start the email off with a compliment... state your purpose... and then end the email with a compliment. Works every time. Not in a shallow "this will work like a charm and you'll trick everyone into liking you" but... wouldn't you be more apt to read and respond to a compliment sandwich, rather than a "can you give me a sandwich?" email? Yea. Me too.

Problem: I know that SO many of us are funny. Does that sound conceited? I think it's true. We have quirks, we are chatty cathies, we love a good innuendo... Sometimes I find this out REALLY far into our friendships. But up front, we are paralyzed by this idea that we have to sound stiff... Be super professional. The problem with this is that blog world is PERSONAL. We are all posting about our lives, our hearts, our dreams, our fears, but then when we email each other we sound like robots. This is one of the downfalls of email and the interwebs. I know, it is hard to translate humor, innuendo, quirks, through cyberspace. I really do. And sometimes in this quest... I fail because I end up sounding like a crass idiot. But there are ways to make this happen in a GOOD way... Not that it is NECESSARY to be funny in all of our emails... But it is necessary to let your own voice shine through, and set you apart... as you should be... because you are awesome.
Solution: Just like in my 9-5 job, which is heavily based on client relationships, there is a time and a place. But that time and place may occur more often than you think. Something what helps me shine my own voice through email/comments/etc... is to remember that there is a PERSON reading this... It's not just being sent out into the abyss. So, picture that person (you have probably read their bio, read a few posts... etc.) and write to them. Chat to them. Be casual. Be light. And follow all of the other suggestions in this post :) Don't be afraid to have a funny subject line that will catch their eye, or use phonetically written words. Just write like you would talk. And picture them listening to you talk, not reading your words.

Problem: I think it's cray cray that this is even an issue, but it is. My conclusion, after much thought, is that it spawns from the same reason that some drivers are real butt holes on the road... but are probably really nice people in real life. They are anonymous. They are not seen. I don't know where they live, or where they go to church, or who their kids are. They are anonymous, and I can't tell their friends about the insane things they say. Honestly, this happens at my 9-5 as well. It's not just blogland. It is agin, the phenomenon of the interwebs. But we don't have to succumb to it's nasty anonymous lure. Because in the end, our integrity and our character are most reflected in how we act and what we say when we don't think anyone is watching. And that, is really scary, for me. And i'm sure for us all. So let's reflect on how we can better reflect the people that we hope to be, in blog world. 
Solution: If you have a senseless rant about something you read in blog world... write it in your diary. Call your sister. Vent to your husband. Don't embarrass yourself or hurt your integrity by sending a snarky anonymous comment out into the universe. On the other hand, if you have a strong opinion about something a blogger has said, PLEASE. Be my guest. Write a thoughtful, educated, well constructed email to express your opinions. Even leave a comment to share your thoughts. But ALWAYS keep in mind that there is a person reading on the other end. There is a person, just like you, with a heart, with feelings, with baggage, and all those things that make us awesome. Don't disrespect. Write like yo mama is watching.

Problem: Someone is taking the time to open our email, read it thoroughly, think of a response, write the response, and send in a timely manner. We forget to say "Thank You" for that. And we forget to include our contact info for an easy reply.
Solution: Always say "Thank You" and leave your info (including your blog URL)

So, friends. I hope this is helpful. I hope you are inspired to beeeeee yourself. Your awesome, personal, kind, interesting selves. And allow others to do the same.



  1. Maddie I think this is a great article you've written up for Janee! I have never come into many of these problems. and I'm pretty glad I haven't because I'd most likely cry a lot and get my feelings hurt and never open my e mail again. Maybe God is just protecting me? I don't know. BUT I love all of your points and I am going to keep each and every one of them in mind when I write e mails!:)

  2. More of these types of blog posts need to be written, to remind people to be kind. You don't have to brown nose, but a little politeness would go a long, long way. I myself have not been a target (yet) of any negative comments, but my daughter has, and I can't believe how mean people are behind "anonymous" comments. I think in general though, as a society there is so much rudeness, that some days I just can't even believe it!
    Thanks for writing this post!

  3. you make some good points maddie, so common sense to be polite but something that is often overlooked!


Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment, it's a huge encouragement to me! I respond to comments directly, that is why you don't see any replies from me here.