I joined my first social media site in 2009. I have since joined many others, most for business, some for fun. My experiences on these sites over the past five years have opened my eyes to a stereotype I never knew existed (and there are many in my field) – the stereotype that editors are strict, A-type personalities who are sticklers for the rules.
Critiquing Personal Messages?
I enjoy meeting people from around the world and I have met dozens online. Some are fellow writers or avid readers who understand and are interested in what I do to make a living. But there is a small minority who are frightened to hear I am a writer and editor.
Most people I never hear from again when they learn my profession. There have been a few, however, who have written me expressing fear that I am critiquing everything they type. I will admit I do notice errors; the grammar filter in my brain can’t be turned off once its been activated. But noticing errors doesn’t mean that I’m going to point them out or judge a person’s character based on them. If a person’s not a paying customer, this would succeed in doing me no good anyway.
I will admit, though, that I do have some email pet peeves that I feel make communication difficult.
These pet peeves are:
- Not punctuating the end of sentences.
- Not capitalizing sentences.
- Not using paragraphs.
Nay, It is I Who Is Critiqued
Instead I am the one who is critiqued. When people are aware that I should know better, they are very eager to point out mistakes I make in social media forums, places where speaking casually is encouraged, and other places.
I will never forget the time I was taunted mercilessly by two other editors in a LinkedIn group. I felt like I was back in school, being bullied for every move I made. Needless to say, I left that group. It did not have a safe, professional atmosphere. Still, I did not give up and do something else for a living, as the naysayers told me I needed to. I stuck with it, knowing I was better than the one social media post they were judging.
Periodically, I will receive messages from people, again critiquing what I had to say about something. Thankfully, most have been polite.
All the constant criticism sometimes makes me nervous about posting on “A Writer’s Life”. I know the naysayers are out there, ready to pounce.
What are some stereotypes you’ve encountered about your profession, and how has it affected how you deal with others?