Monday, April 13, 2020

Review: Kill Reply All: A Modern Guide to Online Etiquette, from Social Media to Work to Love

Kill Reply All: A Modern Guide to Online Etiquette, from Social Media to Work to Love Kill Reply All: A Modern Guide to Online Etiquette, from Social Media to Work to Love by Victoria Turk
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As someone who has been a user of the internet for a long time I was curious about what Kill Reply All would say, but skeptical that I’d learn a lot. I was wrong. Kill Reply All is a laugh-out-loud-entertaining review of how to communicate which covers many of the styles of interaction we use (phone, text, email, chat, social media) . You’ll learn to think about when certain media are appropriate (or not), and how best to use a medium that is new to you. For example, Slack might be great, but there are times when email is better. And a phone call really only works when you plan it (with a text, say). Even if you don’t agree with the recipes Turk proposes, you’ll have a chance to think about the question.

Context is important: you’ll want to make different choices when interacting with colleagues, partners, friends, and the community on a social network and the chapters are structured along those lines.

Part of the fun of the book is how Turk illustrates the things not to do with examples that you may recognize -- either as things you have seen from others -- and sometimes yourself. (Note: Even if you think it’s only something others do, some self reflection is often the best approach to developing a good etiquette, as you may well fall into some bad habits.)

Though humor pervades the book, there is some really solid, sober advice here. A section at the end about call out culture is particularly worth consideration, and in fact, the last chapter on the “art of community” has concise advice about topics like how to identify Fake News and trolls, and how to distinguish bad behavior from honest interaction errors, and when it’s best to let things slide or simply walk away.

While not a perfect book (some of the suggestions didn't take some situations and professions into account, for example), it was a short fun read. You may get this book for the humor, and/or perhaps to get acquainted with how to use tools your kids, or parents use. But it you are also likely to end up thinking about how you interact with people via your devices, and whether you agree with all of Victoria Turks’ rules of etiquette or not, thinking about it is the first step to better interactions.

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