TODAY   |  April 24, 2013

Digital etiquette: What to do when you pocket-dial

The lack of face-to-face interaction with computers and mobile devices doesn’t excuse bad manners. Randi Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media and editor-in-chief of Dot Complicated, offers tips on handling life’s awkward moments in the digital world.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> this is "today" on nbc.

>>> back now at 8:36 with more of our in-depth look at modern manners. and this morning, how to handle digital dilemmas tied to your e-mails, your texts, and your tweets.

>> we have randi zuckerberg here, the founder and ceo of zuckerberg media and the teditor in chief of dotcomplicated.

>> great to see you.

>> my life has so much to do with this, i'm on the road all the time, all the time. i miss my life and my family and i connect with them constantly on skype and stuff.

>> skype, and how nice is it to have a conversation where someone isn't bury ied in their phone right now.

>> absolutely.

>> undivided intention is so vary.

>> digital manners are so important. the first one, i am guilty of. i've done it many, many times, accidentally sending an e-mail or a text to the wrong person, the person you're say something about?

>> yes.

>> so in that scenario, what do you recommend you do?

>> it's the worst. you kind of just have to own up to it, especially, i think it's really hard when you're just forwarding an e-mail, and sometimes you don't read all the way to the bottom to see who, what's being talked about. i think, you know, you either just have to call the person and say, i really screwed up, i'm so sorry. i think the worst thing you can do is just send one of those e-mail retractions, without doing anything, right? that's basically just saying, like, please, look at me! i messed up! you know, look at this e-mail. but i think just own up to it.

>> just a nice, simple, great apology.

>> and remember, you know, learning moment. if you wouldn't want it on the "today" show, don't put it in e-mail.

>> words to live by. we want to do number two, our next scenario.

>> is it okay if i ask this?

>> yeah, sure.

>> this is something that i really always --

>> well, we listed the e-mail chain, because we had our graphic ready.

>> if this happens to you, if someone's sending these mass e-mails to you, friends, coworkers, how do you politely remove yourself from that without looking like a jerk?

>> we've all been on one of those e-mails where they say, you know, what weekend works best for everyone and 30 people chime in with your response.

>> unsubscribe.

>> the best weekend for me is the weekend all of you stop e-mailing. if you're on g-mail, people don't know you can actually mute a conversation in g-mail.

>> really?

>> yes. if you're using facebook chat, you can actually leave a conversation through facebook messages. but, you know, wibut i think it comes down to the responsibility of the host. if you're doing something that requires a response, use a little survey or a little tool that lets people just respond to you.

>> go ahead, michael . do your next one.

>> this is the one i'm really interested in. you're dating someone, it's new, how long is it -- how long is it before you start actually using text instead of calling the person?

>> gosh, so many people ask a first date out via text now. it's kind of like the new thing.

>> not okay?

>> , you know, maybe for a first date, but i think if it goes well enough to want a second date, you pick up the phone and you call. because, you know, chivalry is the not dead in this world.

>> and to michael 's question, how much relationship discussing should you do over text? because tone is kind of lost.

>> absolutely.

>> right. i have generally three rules of when you take is a message from text to phone. the first is if you're giving like complicated directions or advice that needs to be explained. the next is if it starts getting a little emotional, and, you know, lost in translation over text. and the third is if it starts getting a little gossipy and you would never want that to actually be in writing.

>> i'm in my 30s, and my wife is in her 20s, and we see it completely differently. i see it's very cold, sometimes, to text. i want to talk to her, i want to have a conversation, and she loves the texting.

>> i had a conversation yesterday, i was texting with a friend, and i feel the conversation got to a point where i should pick up and call, and they screened me. and i was like, i know you're on the other line. we're texting!

>> slightly related, can we agree that breaking up via text --

>> not cool!

>> horrible.

>> you definitely owe someone at least the face to face .

>> i gragree.

>> your next scenario, if your child receives a negative text, how do you teach them to resist that urge to fire back right away or what would you advise?

>> it's hard. when you see that negative thing, it's your first response, you want to defend yourself. you want to get back in there. but i think it's really important to kind of to take the digital high road , to take a breath. i usually, if i feel tempted to send an emotional e-mail, i always draft it, kind of send it to a friend --

>> that's a great way to do it.

>> who i know is going to write back and say, you know, do you feel better now that you wrote that? don't send it.

>> and something that i did, the last time i was on the show, pocket dialing . what happens when you pocket dial -- which i did, i called my lawyer. i didn't mean to.

>> you were probably charged $800 for that.

>> and i said some probably some pretty terrible things. what is the best way to handle that?

>> i think even now, even bigger than that is like pocket siri or pocket voice activation. you're sitting there and all of a sudden, it's like, what can i help you with? which is very awkward with. but if you actually pocket dial and inevitably, it's going to be someone you haven't spoken to in years, you kind of have to, you know, expect that they're going to text or call you back and then you kind of have to spend a few minutes talking to them.

>> like you said, before, the apology. it's always about how you handle the situation.

>> i have a 2-year-old son that i can blame it on. oh, he was just -- i'm sorry, he was playing a game.

>> and the pocket tweet, where you don't tweet, i have done it where i just tweet "r," or a all right or something. that's just more embarrassing than anything else.

>> you can play it off like a scavenger hunt a little. maybe, all my tweet fans, it's a mystery for everyone.

>> we have 30 seconds. how about the e-mail thank you? is it okay to thank somebody over e-mail or should you write a handwritten note or call?

>> i'm torn on this one, handwritten is the best, but i do think -- my worst pet peeve is when you don't get thanked at all for something.

>> i agree with you.

>> i think the at least you can do, a text message or an e-mail, at least you're saying something.

>> don't you think if something's well thought out and actually genuine, it means something.

>> absolutely, i completely agree.

>> randi zuckerberg , great advice. there's so many questions in this new frontier of manners. thank you for being here. appreciate it.

>> thanks.

>> great to meet you.

>> do you feel more polite now, micha michael ?

>> i feel like i know