the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Dear Neilochka, Mr. Internet Etiquette

For the longest time, I’ve wanted to be of some service to my friends. I want to give back to the community, to share some of my online experiences to help you learn.   But what can I teach you about blogging, social media, or the internet as a whole?   On paper, I am an internet failure.  I make no money.  I have no sponsorships.  I’m not the best writer.   I don’t even get many comments anymore.

But I’m unique in one way.   After six years of blogging, I know a shitload of people, and like the grizzled old man who has been through the Great War, I’ve seen it all.  I know it all. Who is liked and who is hated.   I’m like the Cindy Adams (old school gossip columnist for those who don’t know) of the personal blogging world.

With my special journalistic credentials, I cannot think of a better person to answer your personal questions about the mechanics of online life, or help you grapple with the many social encounters we have online, particularly in the use of proper etiquette.

Send your questions to neilochka at yahoo dot com, and I’ll choose someone each week, if I decide to do this more than once. I’m very fickle.

Today’s question comes from a blogger who remains anonymous, which makes me think she is a bigger wimp than I am.

Dear Neilochka, Mr. Internet Etiquette,

I am attending a blogging conference soon, and one of the speakers is a popular person who once followed me on Twitter when she was less popular, but has now unfollowed me as she made newer, better friends.   I know I am acting like a petty bitch, but I am worried about running into her at the conference and feeling uncomfortable.  And if I do go to the conference, should I purposely boycott her session?

Petty but Can’t Help It

Dear Petty,

Are you being a petty bitch?  Yes.

Is it natural to be a petty bitch? Yes.

Being unfollowed hurts, even on Twitter. I’m not one of those too-cool people who will tell you the bullshit that it doesn’t matter.  This person is dissing you.  She went out of her way to cut you out of her life, insisting that you are dead to her.  She didn’t politely hide you on some “loser” list.  She unfollowed you in public.  You are DEAD to HER.   She stabbed you in the heart, and then twisted the knife.  Accept it.  This person doesn’t think you worthy.

But that’s life, right?  Life IS rejection and unrequited love.  It’s never going to change. Once you accept this, you will feel free.  But remember that YOU would never unfollow yourself.  You love yourself.  And if you love yourself, it doesn’t matter who unfollows you. You have the ultimate power.

I remember my own experience at BlogHer 10.   One of the keynote speakers was a former friend who not only unfollowed me on Twitter, but unfriended me on Facebook, all because of a post where I jokingly called the children of “mommybloggers” as “Satan’s evil spawn,” AS IF they don’t call them that themselves!

But my mother raised me right.  I believer in proper social etiquette.  So, rather than ignoring her at the conference, I swallowed my pride, and was the first to approach her after her keynote to tell her that her talk was “brilliant.”   And even when she immediately said “Excuse me,” to talk to a more popular blogger instead, I didn’t let this hurt me, or make me feel insecure.

That night, at the conference, I dressed up, and went down to one of the many parties.  I danced and enjoyed myself tremendously.   I realized that I was proud of my own accomplishments.  I loved myself and that was the most important LOVE of all.

There was also this rumor going around that the woman who dissed me had given blowjobs to two bellhops earlier that afternoon in the men’s room.  I have no idea how the rumor started.

So, Petty, embrace your hurt.   But don’t sit around and sob.   Be proactive.   That is my advice.


  1. Megan

    Are you sure you’re not a woman?

  2. toywithme

    I like this idea Neil. I think there are a lot of people who could use some internet etiquette. Especially when you’re handing out advice like above.

    Kudos to you for being the bigger person at the conference! And who cares about the rumor, it’s not like you started it 😉

  3. Mel

    Er… but what if the unfollow is a glitch on Twitter’s behalf? For instance, last night, I was tweeting back and forth with someone that I speak to often on Twitter, and I noticed that it suddenly said I wasn’t following her. I reclicked the follow button and all is right in the world, but this isn’t the first time I’ve seen that happen — where I’m suddenly not following someone even though I haven’t even logged on in a few days much less hit a wrong button. Just saying. I always go with the “they’re not in the mood for me” or “problem on Twitter’s behalf” when I’m unfollowed — neither makes me uncomfortable. After all, if I choose chocolate ice cream, I’m not making a statement about all other flavours and their worth. I’m merely stating my preference. At the moment. Which could change.

    • Janice (5 Minutes for Mom)

      I have had hundreds of people I follow just disappear — somehow my account “unfollowed” them! It is a MESS! I don’t even know how to figure out who I have “unfollowed” and follow them all again!
      I am SO worried that some people will think I unfollowed them on purpose! I have never unfollowed anyone on purpose!
      So honestly — it could be a Twitter glitch. Insane numbers of mine have disappeared!

  4. V-Grrrl @ Compost Studios

    Neil, you forgot to share with her the most important play from the Petty Bitch Etiquette Handbook. You know, the one where the blogger writes a nasty post about someone whose identity is very thinly disguised. Said post must be melodramatic and the writer must pimp his/her victimhood and claim superiority and moral high ground to the Evil Anonymous Person whose actions and life are the subject of the post. Then there will be a slew of Sympathetic Comments for the writer and perhaps some behind the scenes buzz. This type of post is the trademark of the Bitter Bitches and Bastards of the Blogosphere, the social networking subgroup of Passive-Aggressive Practitioners of America. : P

  5. Twenty Four At Heart

    You make me laugh. Also? V-Grrrl has a very valid point.
    If you don’t fawn over me at BlogHer this year I’ll have to write a post about you.

  6. Stay At Home Babe

    You don’t get that many comments anymore? Really? That’s strange. I comment less because you never respond. Is it rude for me to say that? I hope not. Because I like this etiquette post idea. I would be totally bummed if I was not following common etiquette on the etiquette post. The irony would be too much for me. 🙁

    • Neil

      I like when someone turns the tables on me! Yes, I am bad at responding. I always promise myself and then don’t. I deserve less comments.

      • Stay At Home Babe

        If it’s any consolation, I always read in my reader. I just don’t always click through and comment because I don’t like shouting into the ether.

  7. Karl

    If I started keeping track of who unfollows me, I give you permission to punch me in the junk. Like you, I offend people often, in one manner or another. Same reason I barely pay any attention to my blog stats.

  8. Jack

    Did I ever tell you about the summer I worked as a bellhop….

  9. amiee

    V-grrl made me laugh. So do you. And also made me very glad I am of no note in the land of social media. so who’s the keynote blogger. Come on, spill …
    Or would that be against etiquette?

  10. Roxanna

    I think you were born to be Mr. Internet Etiquette.

  11. Irish Gumbo

    Finally! A source for these things whom I can trust! A person I can turn to for all my internet etiquette questions…

    Wait…what’s ‘etiquette’? (heh)

  12. Mel

    Great advice!! Hilarious. I always enjoy reading your writing. Blog on.

  13. Carissa

    So… recently I found a quick and dirty way to unclutter my Twitter Feed.
    It’s SO SO SO refreshing to find all the folks who for (I’m SURE) very good reasons do not follow me (or never did) either way: I’m down a few thousand, and I feel light as air.

    I’m trying not to judge or really even care.. what’s a few thousand people who did/don’t/aren’t following me?

    I think there’s a natural yin and yang to the whole Social Media hundreds of ‘friends’. Now Facebook is a different beast altogether. I figure if you unfollow me on FB, I must have really done something dummkopf for THAT? I might ask you, in case it’s something that wasn’t intended?? But Twitter. Saylavie.

    I’m happy to hear all the etiquette I can get. 🙂

  14. Aimee Giese | Greeblemonkey

    I have the unfollow problem myself, in that all of a sudden I am not following people I thought I was. Having said that, I totally agree. I’ve been hurt, I may have unintentionally hurt people, but it’s better to take the high road and worry about your own behavior than others, who you can never control.

  15. Loukia

    You know who is liked and who is hated? I want to know what you know about me and what people are saying! What’s your going rate for telling me everything you know? 😉 That’s my question, Mr. Internet Etiquette.
    Also, you’re really sucky at responding to me when I tweet to you. And it makes me sad.

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