Facebook Pokes: Creepy or Funny?

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Facebook pokes, LinkedIn romance, and how to deal with someone who doesn't understand email—that's what we're dealing with this week at User Manual, Gizmodo's weekly internet advice column. We're here to help!


If you are in a relationship, are you required to de-activate your online dating profiles (Hinge, Tinder, OkCupid, etc...)? If you don't deactivate, are you only allowed to use them for fun in the presence of your significant other? - Aaron

Well, first we have to define what "in a relationship" means. The answer is not necessarily back and white. If you're in an exclusive relationship, and you refer to the person as your girlfriend or boyfriend, then yes, duh, deactivate all your dating profiles. Even if your only intention is looking. You wouldn't go to a bar looking to pick someone up, so why do it on the internet?


But if you guys are casually dating and haven't decided you're going to stop seeing other people, or haven't talked about where you stand, then I think it's fine. That's the beauty of dating. You're allowed to shop around until someone locks you down.

At the same time, I wouldn't use any dating app in front of someone you're interested in. Unless it's very early, and you're just getting to know each other and it's a mutual, anthropological-type activity. Otherwise it's just disrespectful. Besides, once you're getting it on the reg, do you really need a bang app to fall back on?


Is it ever OK to propose on LinkedIn? - Eric

No, never! Next question.

Is it considered bad etiquette to use all caps in the subject line for work emails? People at my office do it all the time and it drives me nuts! Am I in the right or am I being an old school fuddy duddy? - Alan

I can totally see both sides here. If the person is using all caps sparingly, in cases where he or she wants you to pay attention to the email immediately, then it's fine and you should get over it. But if it's all the time, then that's annoying. I mean, is the aggressive emailer yelling at you? Does the CAPS-MONSTER lack the ability to control the volume of his or her voice?


So if it's the latter, I know it's awkward, but just ask. A simple "hey would you mind using all-caps less in your email subjects?" And point how it can be useful, but only if used sparingly. Ask nicely, maybe add a little joke in there. You know what they say: it's not what you say, it's how you say it. So be polite about it and chances are, they'll acquiesce.

Poking—are people still poking? Creepy or funny? - Katy

I'll answer your question with a question: why did people ever stopped poking? I am a big proponent of poking. It can take many forms. Mostly, I think it's just jokey. But if you want to flirt, why not? Let your freak flag fly. Maybe you're trying to be creepy on purpose. I fully support that. Or you could see it as a competition. Whatever. Doesn't matter. Poke on, my friend!


Let me also qualify this answer really quick: if you begin poking wherever you can poke, you are opening yourself up to a lot of unsolicited poking. So if you decide not to poke with discretion, know what you're signing yourself up for. Otherwise, get to it.

User Manual is Gizmodo's weekly advice column about online etiquette. You can email questions to usermanual@gizmodo.com or leave them below in the comments section. Questions are answered every Friday afternoon like magic.


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