I have previously published a well-received post about poking on Facebook so I have to confess that I was less than thrilled with this new post suggestion. To briefly recap that earlier post– I don’t think that poking serves any purpose and I don’t generally recommend it for most serious networkers. That said, if you find poking amusing by all means go ahead and do it. I think it’s a waste of time, but then too so are most any game you play online and there are a number of casual games I do enjoy playing, mostly on Facebook. And I try to only send game requests to friends who are actively playing the same game. I also trust that most of my friends are techno butch enough to no how to block apps they find annoying. (Just once someone blocked me instead and you know, that was okay too.)
I think that as a silly little game is the most appropriate way to treat poking. I definitely don’t think it’s a good idea to poke business contacts unless you have reason to believe the poke would be welcome. (I am carefully refraining from making again the innuendo about what poking is actually a euphemism for.) Which brings me to:
If you’re online long enough sooner or later you will offend someone. I think it is absolutely unavoidable. If you offend someone you don’t want to alienate, the best thing to do is a prompt, sincere apology. This very much needs to be combined with taking the time to actually understand how you offended the person and changing your future behavior so as not to further offend them. (Apologies are easy. Understanding is the challenge.) Poking may be innocent fun for some, and an anathema for others. But if you pay attention and don’t bother folks who are not interested, it can like many other little online games provide a few moments of joy to brighten your day. But honestly, I very rarely poke anymore. My thanks to Saket Verma for suggesting today’s words.