Don't Be Caught Pointing Your Feet in Nepal: What Is Proper Twitter Etiquette?

Etiquette is different from country to country just as I would assume it is from social media outlet to social media outlet. While in most of SM it seems to be covered under the 80-20 rule, there are specifics I'm still not sure about when it comes to DM's and RT thank you's. I just hope the bottoms of my feet aren't pointing out at too many people.

I remember traveling in Nepal and learning that it was an insult to point the bottom of your foot, bare or otherwise, at people. You might ask yourself, well how the heck am I going to point my feet at people? But you know how when you sit with your legs crossed, the bottom of your foot points out? Don't do that. And if you have your feet up on a chair or in my case the engine cowling on a bus...big no no.

When I was trekking in the Langtang valley, I discovered that my High Tech boots did not fit their description. It took 7 days through tea houses, zigzagged trails along steep inclines, and prayer flag lined walls to get to the last village, Kanjin Gompa. (A Monastery there makes the best fresh yogurt and honey in the world...mmmm.) But this should only have taken 3 days. My baby toe on my right foot was so infected I couldn't even put my boots on by the time we arrived at 3870 Meters. My boyfriend at the time, a huge hiker, was often spotted far up ahead of me on the trek waiting in fields as I did my best to hobble up the mountain with a heavy pack on my back.

When we reached the top, Christof wanted to head over a high pass and down through Helambu but there was no way I was going to make it up to 4610 meters in my condition. I sent him on his way with other travelers and hired a Sherpa to carry my pack back down to Syabrubesi so I could catch a bus back to Kathmandu where we'd meet up in a week or so.

That's when my breech in etiquette occurred. The owner of the tea house in Remche helped me down to Syabru and put me on the bus explaining to the driver that I was severely injured (You may not think a baby toe was a big deal, but my whole foot was swelled up twice the size and I figured I was probably going to have my toe cut off when I got into Kathmandu.) The driver let me sit upfront to elevate my foot on the cowling of the engine inside the bus. This was usually a de facto bench for the old and handicapped but here I was, young American sitting there with my leg stretched out across a highly coveted location...and my foot was pointing out.

An old woman sitting next to me was smacking me for about an hour and jabbering in Nepalese to her neighbors about how rude I was for observable reasons. Finally, when the bus stopped for a 10 minute break, I took my boot off to look at the swollen mess my foot had become. As I unwrapped the bandage and the woman saw my gorgeous purple ballooned foot all of a sudden her posturing changed. She started to pet my arm and croon in softer tones, and turned to all her neighbors to inform them that I wasn't as much of a jerky American as she originally had thought. (This is all supposition on my part, since I don't speak a word of Nepalese.)

So I'm still unsure of the etiquette on twitter when dealing with direct messages and retweets. What is the deal with direct messages on twitter when you start following someone? For the most part they look automated to me, somewhat spammy, though every once in a while I get one that I think, "WOW that person really cares who I am!" And I wonder if they do... or did they just craft their 140 characters really well.

I ask myself, should I send a DM to everyone I follow? I don't really want to be spammy, if I think they are canned responses, I'm sure other people do as well. In my first days encountering twitter I got a DM to the effect of, "You and I both know this goes out automatically, enjoy my tweets, I may or may not follow you..." Well love you for your automated honesty. But when really should you DM? Even if I bothered to DM everyone who followed me and they were individual messages, they'd probably think my message was well crafted SPAM. So what is the proper etiquette?

I have the same conundrum when it comes to retweets. Do you thank someone for the retweet? If you are just retweeting someone else and then a third party tweets your retweet, do you thank them for that? Or are you really just taking credit for someone else's hard work finding that great article that you then passed on?

I don't want to point my foot in the air at anyone, but I also don't want to cause someone to yell at me for my supposed breech in etiquette when really I'm just stumbling around trying to get the hang of all this.

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Sonya said...

Another brilliant blog post. :D

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