Early this morning, I received a forwarded email from my employer with a question mark. This email was written by a literary agent on behalf of an YA (young adult) author whose book I’m actually looking forward to reading.
This email not only chastises my employer but clearly states that I was using my personal Twitter account and posted a link to an illegal download to said book.
“It has been brought to my attention that one of your employees, Christina Lam, has posted a link to an illegal copy of Divergent by Veronica Roth on her personal twitter account. Not only could she get into a lot of trouble for doing this in any capacity (with her name on it, no less!), but this looks awfully bad for a company that specializes in social media. The misuse of social media here is inexcusable.”
Now, right there, I take this issue seriously. When someone accuses you of stealing, of course, you’d perk up and check your posts and whether your pants are down.
I took a look at what I posted. It was a post that I re-posted (or re-Tumbl’d) on my Tumblr blog about a week ago. My Tumblr blog is sync’d to my Twitterfeed and automatically posts to my Twitter account.
I’m not sure why this lit agent decide to go after me via my employer when clearly, I state here, on Twitter, and on my other blog that no words posted or published by me should reflect anyone but me. I’m reachable practically everywhere online. An @reply on Twitter, an email, or even an in-mail from LinkedIn would have worked. Instead, she reached out to someone who had nothing to do with my re-Tumbl’d post or subsequent tweet.
Point 1: I was in the wrong for re-Tumbling a post with an (unbeknownst to me) illegal download of the book. I believe the original post said, “Free PDF of <BOOK BY AUTHOR>.” At the time, I did not know it was illegal. On my part, I should have looked at the link and checked if it was legit.
Point 2: The tone of the email my employer received was chastising and hostile and I said so in my email. It was unnecessary to send an email to my employer nor have a subject line: “Christina Lam is posting illegal downloads on her personal twitter account.”
Point 3: I re-Tumbl’d the post. This means I was not the originator of the original post or link. No, this doesn’t excuse my RT, and I take responsibility of what I re-Tumbl on my channels. It does make me wonder if this lit agent did her due diligence and researched this further to find the original poster. It is also possible that she is not familiar with Tumblr.
About my employer: I explained the situation and apologized to my employer for being dragged into this for no reason. I also took responsibility for not checking the link posted for legality. She has seen my blogs and Twitter profile where it states that all posts are my own. My employer even pointed out that the lit agent’s email said it was my personal Twitter account and wondered why the lit agent didn’t just contact me directly.
My reply: I replied back to the lit agent back telling her it was unnecessary to be hostile and chastising and to email my employer. It should also be noted that they have nothing to do with my personal SM accounts. About an hour after I received the forward from my employer, I deleted my tweet and re-Tumbl’d post and said so in my email. I wrote I’d like to extend my apologies to the author. It was not my intention to rip her off or cause her distress. After all, I’m a fan of YA fiction. I sent her my phone number and said I’d be happy to hop on the phone to discuss further.
Her reply: Her email back to me:
“My email was not meant to be hostile or chastising–it was meant to be taken very seriously.”
Good to know. So again, why not contact me directly?
My rebuttal here: Oftentimes, reaching out directly to the offender with a public @ reply via Twitter works a lot better than a hostile email to the offender’s employer who has nothing to do with a personal Twitter account.
I’ve found in my work experience (and quite frankly, in real life) that if you ask nicely, people usually realize their mistake and do as you ask. Ie. You don’t need to throw a hammer (at the wrong people) to find your target. A tap on the shoulder usually will do it. Especially for someone like me. I’m in the business of guest relations.
Final thoughts: Regardless of this lit agent’s communications, I’m still going to read the book by that author – I’ll either buy it for my Kindle or borrow it from the library. It’s been getting great reviews from my favorite YA bloggers. (And no, curious reader, it’s not the Hunger Games – I’ve already read that series!)