Transmissions from Conference Land: Let’s Talk About Facebook

Peeps, we need to talk about Facebook. Specifically, this trend that I’ve noticed with this year’s GenreCon where people have eschewed email and started sending me important queries about the conference via the Facebook PM system.

Don’t do this.

For the love of all the Gods in all the Heavens, don’t do this. Carve these words into your heart and cleave to them for the rest of your writing career:

Facebook is not the place for any kind of one-to-one professional communication. 

I’m not talking about the quick, easy stuff – it’s not like the messenger/chat system on Facebook is entirely broken. I use it for all sorts of things: asking the important questions about whether we’re good for write club and whether we need donuts; asking quick questions of friends that have an easy response; the occasional chat with old friends who moved away. It’s great for that, it really is.

But it’s pants for anything important.

I get the impulse to try it, I really do. About twenty years ago we moved away from a dominant form of communication that happened on your terms – you’d make a call on the phone, someone would answer, and they’d have to deal with you immediately – and towards a form of communications where people got around to answering you in their own damn time – the email.

And we’re all totally aware that email can suck for quick responses. You know that you’re sending the message off like a note in a fucking bottle, hopping like hell it will make it where you want it go, and that someone will finally getting around to uncorking the sucker. It lacks the immediacy of the phone call, which means it’s easy ignore something you don’t want to deal with.

That’s the curse of email. Especially when you’ve got something important you’re trying to resolve.

And while that’s happening, Facebook is right there, with it’s illusion of immediacy and people who respond to the little chat window that pops up in their window, and suddenly it seems like an attractive option.Besides, you’re on Facebook anyway, and it’s just a small question, and surely–


Go send the damn email.

Or, if you’ve sent the email, chill out and wait for a response.

Or, if it’s actually something that really, truly needs a quick response, go the extra step and pick up the phone.


If you’re asking something that needs a response longer than yes, no, or “here’s a pithy animated gif that expresses my feelings,” it’s almost always going to be the better choice.

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