Anonymity Breeds Adversity

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Last week I received a curt e-mail message from someone who had subscribed to my monthly e-zine, Lydia Ramsey’s Business Etiquette Tips. Before I repeat his message, let me explain the process for subscribing to this complimentary online newsletter.

Step One: In order to subscribe, you need to go to my website, click on the red box labeled “Newsletter Signup” and fill in your name and e-mail address.  I do not take the liberty of adding unsuspecting people to my newsletter.  That would be considered spamming them.  Not only that, it would also be bad manners.

Step Two: I receive a notice with the name and e-mail address of each new subscriber.  I then follow up with a message asking if everything went smoothly–since every now and then a glitch can and does occur. If there is a problem accessing the newsletter, it can be corrected.

A person, whose name I shall withhold in order to protect the not-so-innocent, signed up for the newsletter.  I received the notice and sent him a message asking if he was able to access the newsletter satisfactorily.  His response was “Don’t send me anymore of your e-mail????????????????????????”

I quickly went into my newsletter program, removed his name from the list and sent a brief message notifying him of my action and apologizing for any inconvenience he had experienced.

I am still struck by the rude tone of this man’s reply.  It points to a new issue on the Internet–a lack of courtesy and respect for others.  People are now using technology as a means to attack other people.  We all know the sad story of the young girl who took her life because of the cruel comments that were posted about her on Facebook by her classmates.

Because they can be anonymous, there are people who seem to derive pleasure from posting uncomplimentary and unkind remarks on the Internet.  Rudeness has been on the rise for the last twenty years or more.  We see it everywhere from the workplace, to our schools, at sporting events, on the road and just about anywhere people gather. It has now spread to the Internet.  Because these people cannot be seen or identified, they have discovered a new venue for being as spiteful and cruel as they want.

I have to wonder if these same people had to confront others face-to-face, would they be so quick to be rude.  The anonymity of the Internet is creating more adversity and is providing a new place for these cowardly individuals to hide.

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Photo from Savannah magazine

Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.

Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions.  Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.

Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.

Contact her via email at or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website,

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