DEAR MISS MANNERS: Social media would be more enjoyable if people followed a few guidelines.
First, some people post too much — several times a day. Please recommend no more than three or four posts a week. Also, some people post too many pictures of their children or grandchildren. They may be dear to the family, but other people’s interest in them is limited.
People should ask themselves: Is this very similar to something I posted recently? Types of posts that should be minimized in number: posts about your children, posts about political or social organizations, ads for businesses (unless it’s really special or to announce that you are starting a business), inspirational mottos, personality tests and movie quizzes. “Memories” posts should be limited to things that are really special (such as weddings), not just your children at an earlier age.
There is sometimes a setting for “See fewer posts like this,” but that isn’t always successful. So it would help if posters would follow some guidelines.
GENTLE READER: Certainly. But currently, Miss Manners has her hands full asking people not to post insulting rhetoric and lewd propositions. In the face of all-out verbal warfare, slipping in an extra picture of their grandchild seems like a pretty minor infraction. But please, knock yourself out.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: A respected academic mentor and colleague is retiring from a major university in the city where we both live. I’ve been invited to a big retirement dinner at a local venue.
The invitation arrived by email from a university-sponsored website. Under the RSVP menu, I was further informed that dinner reservations and a cash bar were available — at a price two or three times what I would normally pay for a pleasant night out. Although I can afford the occasional splurge, I was taken aback. After discussing it with my wife, I checked the “regrets” box.
We agreed that there are various ideas for having a party on a budget and/or cost-sharing, but this approach was not a good one. Knowing the retiree, I don’t think this was his idea, and I feel a bit guilty about declining. I do plan to give him a gift and pay him a personal visit.
Is this sort of pay-to-play event becoming common? Is there anything I can or should say besides politely declining?
GENTLE READER: Common or not, using a retirement as a fundraiser by padding the cost is unseemly — and hardly celebratory. Miss Manners feels for your friend, who, as you say, was undoubtedly coerced into this brazen event in his name.
If you want to be exceedingly gracious, you might invite him to a simple dinner party at your home, telling him, “The university event seemed a bit impersonal. We would love to have you over to celebrate your retirement privately.” And if you are feeling cheeky, you might add, “We promise not to charge for the drinks.”
Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, email@example.com; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.