And all that got me to thinking--while we talk a lot about good manners in cyberspace, things like eschewing all caps and avoiding flame wars, we never talk about how cyberspace companies should manage their manners with us, their captive users.
Of course, I think about this a lot in my day job as a content strategist for a large cloud-computing company. We do all kinds of measuring, testing, experimenting, and talking to customers to try and make every experience the best it can be. Sometimes we fail, but when we do, we learn from that mistake and work hard never to repeat it.
But what does it tell your customers if you don't even try? Yahoo's latest "reskin" (a horrid industry term for the process of changing how everything looks and where everything lives) did a lot of damage. Not a word of acknowledgement or apology and no attempt to fix the broken things. What Yahoo has done is the manners-equivalent of showing up drunk to a wedding and then barfing all over the bride's dress.
Of course, on the other hand, you get what you pay for. We've used Yahoo Groups for free for years, since it replaced the USENET groups of the last century. So, I guess we asked for it.
However, mystery readers pay real dollars, drachmas, and pounds for books, and expect the courtesy of a few things:
- Great editing and proofreading, and if an ebook, fabulous formatting.
- The best words that particular author could put together.
- A story that's at least a little bit fresh, a little bit fun, a little bit interesting.
- An author who...
Hm, I wonder. What do readers expect of an author these days? A website presence, a Twitter handle, maybe a little sharing via group blogs like this, or in virtual book club meetings. What else do readers want from writers these days? Because I want to be sure and mind my manners!