Ask Dr. Webbie
Is there an Internet question you'd like to see answered in a future edition of Website Compass? E-mail your question to DrWebbie@WebsiteCompass.com.
To assist him in answering your question as specifically as possible, be sure to include the following: the name of the browser you are using (i.e. Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0, Firefox 2.0, etc.), the name of the e-mail software you are using (i.e. Microsoft Outlook Express 6.0, OS 10.4 Mail, etc.), and the version of your system software (i.e. Windows 98, Windows XP, etc.)
I have several friends who now use Gmail and want me to try it. What makes Gmail different from other e-mail services and why should I consider using it?
Gmail is offered by Google, and it’s one of many free e-mail services available. (Others include Yahoo! Mail and Windows Live Hotmail.) Some of the most popular features of Gmail include:
- Less spam - Gmail blocks spam before it gets to your inbox. If an unwanted message ever finds its way through, you can fight back by reporting it to Gmail to help make their spam filters even better.
- Easy searches - Use Google search within Gmail to find the exact message you want, no matter when it was sent or received. You don’t have to spend time sorting your e-mail.
- Organizes replies into conversations - With Gmail, each message you send is grouped with all the responses you receive. This conversation view continues to grow as new replies arrive, so you can always see your messages in context.
- Built-in chat - Gmail chat lets you send and receive instant messages with friends, family, and colleagues using Google’s chat network. You can even communicate face to face with your Gmail contacts using the voice and video chat feature.
- Flexible organization - Gmail uses labels to help you organize with more flexibility. A conversation can have several labels, so you’re not forced to choose one particular folder for messages. You can also create filters to automatically manage incoming mail. To learn more about Gmail or to open an account, visit www.google.com and click on “Gmail” at the top of the page.
I’m just getting started with Facebook. What’s considered good etiquette when it comes to friend requests?
According to Facebook, the average user has 120 friends on the site. This is in comparison to real life, where surveys show that the average North American has about three very close friends and 20 other people that fall into the “pretty close” category. Clearly, the definition of a friend on Facebook differs from the one in real life. That said, Facebook friending etiquette does exist.
Here are some commonly accepted guidelines:
- Don’t be offended if someone does not reply to a friend request. They may prefer to keep their group of friends to a very limited few or they may want to keep work and social lives separate.
- Don’t ask someone to be your friend more than once.
- Don’t friend someone who you are not comfortable seeing your photos or hearing about your daily life.
- Don’t friend someone, especially younger Facebook users, if your content would be inappropriate for their age group.
- When making a friend request to a mutual contact, take a minute to write a message that explains who you are and why you’d like to be that person’s Facebook friend.
- Reserve friending for people you truly care about and are interested in. Don’t use Facebook friends as a way of keeping score of your popularity.
Remember, if you change your mind about a Facebook friend, you can always “unfriend them” later. Simply click onto the person’s profile, go to the bottom of the page, and click on the “Remove friend” link.