4/18/16, Internet Manners

Hi Everyone,

I recently had an experience, which I wanted to share. Times have changed with modern communications. Most people don’t write letters anymore, they send texts and emails. I miss the fine art of letter writing. I love books with love letters in them, or funny letters. Writing a great letter used to be an art, which almost no one bothers with anymore. Some people worked hard on the letters they sent, and I’ve always loved books which include letters, and am sorry letters have gone by the wayside. It’s a lost art now. And text and email is certainly faster and often more convenient, though less eloquent and less elegant. My agent writes some wonderful letters, and I always admire the elegance with which he can turn a phrase!!! My own letter writing is a little rusty these days. Who has time to write a great letter? Most of us don’t.

And a definite downside of sending emails or texts is that people don’t take the time to measure their words, or even control their emotions. Nothing brings greater relief when you’re angry than firing off a furious letter to the person who has offended you in some way. But in days gone by, people would write an angry letter, and put it aside, think about it, edit it, maybe soften it a little, or not send it at all. A letter gave you time to think and weigh your response before you sent it. An email is an immediate response or reaction, you can write a white hot furious email of reaction, hit ‘Send’, and instant gratification: you can drop a verbal bomb on someone within seconds. BUT that’s not always so wise. There is no cooling off period with email, no time to think or reconsider, you can nuke someone who pissed you off instantly!! It may feel good for a minute, but it’s not always the smart, or even the right, thing to do. It encourages people to be impulsive and sometimes over react. And once the email is out there, it’s too late to do anything about it once you calm down.

The other feature I don’t like about angry emails is that there is a great anonymity and facelessness about the Internet. As useful as it is in many ways, and as much really helpful information we can learn from it, it is also fertile ground for bullies and cowards to write some really appalling emails to people in the stealth of darkness and anonymity—–and with that protection, some people really go nuts and write some shockingly vicious stuff to other people anonymously. I don’t think that’s a good thing. If you’re going to be nasty, you should at least have the guts to own it, not slither around in the shadows.

I recently had an email from someone who didn’t like something I said in a book. They assumed my opinion (incorrectly), didn’t like my point of view, and unleashed an amazingly nasty email on me, and rounded up a bunch of their “internet friends” to also dump all over me. What I received was a slew of the nastiest, rudest, most insulting, inappropriate emails I have ever seen. Unseen, unknown, they felt safe being as rude as they could be, with safety in numbers to be even ruder as a group, calling me names, etc. It was shocking and unnecessary—-but the Internet opens the door to that, people seem to feel remarkably free to be as rude as they want by email under the cover of anonymity. Good manners no longer apply, anonymity carries the day, and some people feel entirely free to be as violent, threatening and aggressive as they want to, and the rules of correspondence, reason, or basic courtesy don’t even apply. We live in a violent world unfortunately, and that kind of no holds barred free form, violence and hostility seems like a very bad thing to me. We should at least be polite to each other, no matter how angry we are. I was shocked at the emails I got and the nastiness that group of people thought was okay, the terrible manners, and the violence of their words. It really was shocking. And it reminded me that good manners still need to apply, and common courtesy. Emails shouldn’t be a license for people to treat others with disrespect. I am all for writing a well worded letter of displeasure, but rounding up a bunch of angry strangers for a lynch mob to verbally assault you and beat you to a pulp lacks elegance and decency, to say the least. I don’t think the internet should be an excuse for people to be rude to others.

It’s something to think about. We all owe each other courtesy, respect, and good manners…..whether on a post card, in a letter, an email or a text. And sometimes the old manners and standards for decent behaviour to our fellow man really are best!!!

love, Danielle

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12 Comments so far
  1. Janine Hewitt April 18, 2016 10:41 am

    Danielle, I can’t imagine why anyone would send you such horrible emails, especially about something in one of your books! Unfortunately the world these days is filled with a lot of hate and anger and that is why we, on the reasonable side of things, should try to set better examples of decent behavior,kindness and respect towards others. Sorry you were “attacked” verbally like that-very mean spirited of them!

  2. TERESA CUNHA April 18, 2016 12:43 pm

    Hi Danielle!

    Being the recipient of both nasty emails and blog messages for years now, I totally sympathize with your situation. The difference is that mine, although come anonymous or signed with fake names, come from just one person, and I know that person…
    Still it is amazing how those words, unfair and cruel, can knock the air out of our lungs! It is just by a second because, these days, I actually feel sorry for the person and the other people the person may gather to her “lynch mob”, all that violence, that anger, that rudeness is actually a poison and the person being poisoned is in fact the one writing the nasty words.
    So, let the nasty words go, because they belong to the sender and you are free to refuse them, and just focused on your own words that I, for one, consider wonderful for over 20 years.
    Best regards,


  3. Asavari Sharma April 18, 2016 8:31 pm

    Yes! Everyone has an opinion now. Sadly, it is not always positive. I hate how people misuse the power of internet and convert it into something so so negative, rude and repulsive.

    Times have definitely changed…..but for the worst! 🙁

  4. Sylwia April 19, 2016 12:13 am

    I couldn’t agree more with what you wrote.
    There is a growing manner of ‘hate’, instead of ‘congratulate’ or ‘tollerate’.

    You seem to be O.K. with ‘haters’ and one has to be, because we all have our enemies. For public people there are more friends, but unfortunately sometimes even more enemies. Count your blessings, Danielle, not your haters.
    For me, you are one graceful beautiful lady with shining smile and great talent.

    Happy day to You,

    I wish you

  5. Rob Scott April 19, 2016 9:59 am

    Hmmmmm, Danielle.

    I understand what you are saying especially if you are in the spotlight.

    Know you are in the ark of safeness, God is right here loving you.

    The light shined in the darkness and the darkness never put it out.

    Keep Shinning!

    Truth, Wisdom, Love and Sincerity, to aLL Mankind.

    Rob Scott
    Oaxaca, Mexico

  6. Amanda D April 19, 2016 1:57 pm

    I’m sorry you had to go through that!

    I agree. I do miss the good old fashioned hand-written card or letter. Still hoping stationary becomes a trend again!

    All the best.

  7. Lorraine April 19, 2016 5:16 pm

    I’m sorry you had to go through that. You are such a sweet, nice lady. Disagreeing with someone and having different opinions on the internet is one thing, but being nasty and insulting is an entirely different thing. I also miss good old fashioned phone calls with certain people. A lot of the people I know don’t even have a house phone anymore, which is fine, but sometimes it’s a little strange to me, lol. Guess I’m showing my age! Thank you for always sending us positive thoughts and good wishes.

    Love, Lorraine

  8. Raffaella April 21, 2016 4:17 am

    Gentile Signora Steel,
    è da molto tempo che desidero scriverle, da quando più di un anno fa una persona, mi parlò del libro che lei scrisse su Nick. Ci misi un pò ad elaborare la cosa, anche perché sapevo che leggerlo mi avrebbe provocato dolore, ma alla fine decisi di cercarlo ripromettendomi di scriverle solo dopo averlo letto.
    Il percorso di suo figlio ha confermato ciò che già sento dentro di me da diverso tempo, la sensazione di essere sbagliati, come una cosa rotta che non funziona o che è difettosa e che desidera annullarsi perché non si fida più di se stessa, sa che non è attendibile, si detesta e desidera solo spegnere il proprio senso di frustrazione ed inutilità. Avrei preferito nascere senza gambe o braccia, ci sono portatori di handicap che grazie ad una mente sana arrivano a scalare ostacoli che sembrano insormontabili, mentre per chi soffre di disturbo bipolare c’è un destino già segnato. Si lotta, si spera, ma ogni volta che si cade ci si spegne sempre di più, come attratti dalla convinzione che la fine sia l’unica cosa possibile. Per chi non c’è passato, queste parole possono suonare come una bestemmia, ma come biasimarlo? Non si può pretendere che altri capiscano un linguaggio differente dal proprio, ma io, madre di due bambine, ho sofferto due volte nel leggere la vita di Nick: come bipolarece come madre

  9. Raffaella April 21, 2016 4:26 am

    Lei è stata incredibilmente coraggiosa con la forza della disperazione e l’amore che una madre prova per i suoi figli. Purtroppo questa malattia, spegne ogni senso, vince su ogni volontà e chi ci vede da fuori non può capire che frasi d’incoraggiamento sono come una ferita al cuore, a volte mi sento come se fossi muta…
    Le chiedo scusa se ho scritto in italiano, il mio inglese è pessimo e ho letto nel blog che l’italiano è tra le lingue che parla. Avrei voluto dirle di più ma sono confusa e non so quanto sia stato giusto espormi in un blog, ma non avrei saputo come altro fare per comunicare direttamente con lei… Mi scusi per lo sfogo Danielle…

  10. Deede April 22, 2016 6:44 am

    Danielle, I totally appreciate your words on the value of letter writing and the disappointment of some responses from the internet…Being able to express oneself without any censure because you are anoyomous is a sad right…I am sorry you had to experience the venom of some…
    That said, without the internet and its spontaneous responses, I would not be able to tell you how much I have enjoyed a special book…I am not one to write a letter to someone I don’t know..(I know it doesn’t compute that I can write an internet post..perhaps it is the same but different..smile)
    Now, I have to tell you how much I appreciated and loved PURE JOY…I am living with a very sick furbaby…My little Maltese has cancer…I have experienced all sort of emotions and anger…Then in PURE JOY, I found so much support and information…
    Thank you for writing this one..It just helped me so much in my struggles with my baby…
    Take care…Thanks again for having just the right words for me…

  11. Theresa April 22, 2016 3:16 pm

    Danielle, I am so sorry you had to go through such bitter anger and hatred from a certain monority that should never happen. Ever since I was teenager I have loved reading your books starting with Changes which I loved and read about 3 or 4 times and loved the characters. Then I found Wanderlust and I just loved everything about that book I have read it over and over again down through the years.
    Reading your blog this evening I must say I completely agree with you when I was growing up my parents instilled in me that I must always be polite and treat others with respect, treat others the way you would like others to treat you and I have carried that attitude into adult life. But in life some people can be ignorant and angry and try as you might you will never get them on side and there is no point trying because they will never appreciate you. Don’t waste your time with these people who don’t appreciate your talent because they are not true fans who respect your work and are just complete ignorant angry people who don’t respect you.

  12. Elizabeth Humber April 29, 2016 2:19 pm

    I TOTALLY AGREE WITH YOU 100% ON EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!! Thanks for taking the time to share this with your readers and for being such a decent, kind and caring human being. Like the young people say, “Danielle, YOU ROCK!”