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I write a blog.

Obviously, as you are reading this on my blog.

In writing this blog, I am opening myself up to a certain amount of negative things: I might face nasty commenters, or people turning to Twitter to share rants about or related to me. (Each case has only happened once. That I know of.)

Last week, I had a new, interesting kind of negative experience. And frankly, I don’t think this reflects poorly on me; it reflects poorly on the woman in question.

There is a certain something you expect out of someone who contacts you in regards to your blog. And that “something” is simple: That the person has read your blog.

I received an email last week from a woman, we’ll call her Kathey, who wanted to know if I was interested in running an exclusive piece by her. (I assumed she meant a guest column? Her word usage indicated she knew little about blogging.) I have had bad experiences with guest columnists in the past and currently like to accept them only from people I know and trust, but I continued reading her email. Maybe I would make an exception.

The next line indicated to me that no, I would not be making an exception:

Given that you’re a parent, who offers great insights to other parents, I believe my topic would be important to both you and your readers- as it discusses an issue that so many families are currently facing; childhood obesity.

Attention, regular readers: What is wrong with the above statement?

Answer: I am not a parent. Not only am I not a parent, but I guest posted on my friend Meghan’s parenting blog about why I never want to be a parent.

Now, did I laugh at this email? You bet I did. And did I respond to her? Again, you bet. Typically, I am very much a “let the other person have the last say” kinda gal. Nine times in 10, those on the Interwebs don’t want to hear what you have to say; they just want to say what they want to say. (I learned this as a journalist. No point in getting into a back-and-forth with people. If someone wants to tell me I don’t belong in the city in which I live and should move away because I think, say, gay people should be allowed to marry, so be it.)

But this email appeared to be from a woman who is trying to make it as a writer. This is a woman who, as such, needs to be taken seriously. So I very, very briefly corrected her:

Hi Kathey —
I’m not a parent.
Have a great weekend,
Jaclyn

I suppose this is a small thing. On my end, anyway, it’s unimportant. But I think it illustrates something: Posting to social media sites, sending an email, clicking “publish” on a blog — it’s all stuff that can be done quickly and without a second thought.

But when you’re using these tools in a professional manner, if you want to be taken even a little seriously,for God’s sake, do your homework.

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