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Electronic Communication for Leaders

From: LEAVEN, Vol. 39 No. 6, December 2003 - January 2004, p. 133.

Types of Email Lists for Leaders

Information-only lists, such as LLLINews for administrators, or Area lists that pass on official news to Leaders.

Department/job-related lists, such as the ALLECats list for ALLEs or PubLLL for editors and publications administrators.

General Leader-issue lists, such as TLC (The Leader Connection) and other unofficial Leader lists in Affiliates and language groupings, such as enLLLace for Spanish speakers.

Lists on other topics-there are informal lists on various topics where Leaders can share with each other, knowing that they come from similar parenting styles, such as weight loss lists, cooking lists, general chat lists, etc.

For more information about how to participate in open chats, see "Representing LLL Online" by Susan Buckley and Sandee Luttkus on the Leader Web site at: www.lalecheleague.org/leaderpages/representingLLL.html (requires Leader password). [Address updated September 2006]

Email Etiquette for Leaders

Are you a fledging computer geek Leader exploring email chat lists and The Leader Connection (TLC)? Or are you a full-fledged citizen of cyberspace with your own Web site, receiving email from mothers requesting breastfeeding help?

It's a brave new world out there with many opportunities for Leaders to provide support through contact with breastfeeding mothers, and be supported through contact with other Leaders.

"Netiquette," or email etiquette, is a set of common sense rules designed to keep discourse through email, civil, polite, and respectful. Any written communication can be misleading, even between the most erudite of writers. Humans depend on tone of voice, nuance of pronunciation, and body language to help them interpret conversations. Without these, a sentence that seems perfectly innocuous to the writer may, to the reader, seem sarcastic, funny, or simply rude.

To avoid misunderstandings, many devotees of email use emoticons (little icons made from punctuation marks) to help the reader identify the writer's tone. For example, if the writer fears that a tongue-in-cheek remark may be taken seriously, she may add this symbol ;-) to her sentence. The winking smiley face (turn your head sideways to see it!) lets the reader know that the writer is just kidding around. A list of emoticons can be found at www.computeruser.com/resources/dictionary/emoticons.html.

Cyberspace communication requires a certain level of flexibility and forgiveness....Just as Group co-Leaders use CSE skills, cyberspace co-Leaders will want to keep CSE skills handy, too.

Some breaches of "netiquette" to avoid:

  • Posting private email to a public forum or sharing private email with others without permission.
  • Sending attachments, files, or pictures to an email list. Please don't! These can crash (stop) some Internet servers, thereby inconveniencing thousands of people.
  • Posting messages that could embarrass Leaders or LLL. Consider the public image of LLL at all times and send posts carefully.
  • Posting messages that could be libelous or slanderous.
  • Using TLC instead of a Leader's support system. TLC is not an official arm of LLLI or its regional or local administrative units. Leaders should always consult with their immediate support person if they have administrative questions.

Brandel D. Falk is the Contributing Editor for "Leading Meetings" column.

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