Paper Cuts: Four Questions Not to Ask on Social Media

I'm an instagram and pinterst junkie. If you were to put a Trader Joe's peanut butter cup (my favorite) and my cell phone next to each other on a table, I'd bite my lip, grab the phone and, without skipping a beat, have my instagram app open. There. I admit it. I would leave a peanut butter cup in order to spend a few moments on social media.

Thanks to social media, I have been connected with clients, industry professionals, and other small businesses. Instagram, more so than any other social media outlet, is a platform that allows me to put myself out there in a vulnerable way, which has lead to really incredible working and personal relationships. I love the conversations I have with my followers, and with the people who I follow. In general, I try to be as transparent as possible in effort to help other creatives, but there have been times where I've cringed at the questions I've seen asked on such a public forum.

Here are four common questions/topics that I believe are best asked via a private email, versus on social media:

1: Vendor Information - Many of you are curious about what printer(s) designers use, where they get envelopes, and other vendor information. This is something that most professionals are not comfortable sharing at all, let alone publicly. If you have a question about a specific vendor, it's best to send a private email.

2: Pricing - A lot of time and effort goes into providing an accurate estimate for an invitation suite. If you ask me online what the cost is for 100 invitations, I honestly cannot answer you because I don't have enough information. Pricing is based on the print method, number of printed pieces, envelope options, paper selections, and so on. If you'd like to get more information about a product or price, it's always best to send an email.

3: Font Usage: Many designers create designs based solely on typography and licensed fonts. Giving out that information makes it feel like you're practically inviting people to copy the design. When somebody asks me for the names of fonts for specific designs, I admit that I always feel uneasy. Most designers live and breathe fonts, and can see & name any font anywhere, so if I don't know you, and you cold email me asking for specific fonts from a specific design, there's a good chance I will decline to provide that information. If you're really, really nice, I miiiiiight point you to the website I use to buy all my fonts. Or, um, you should just follow my Font Friday posts, where I share all the info you'll ever need for my favorite fonts.

4: Following Back: Alright, so this is more of a personal pet peeve than anything else, but if you leave me a comment and say something like "nice work! come follow me!" there's a good chance I'll not only NOT follow you, but will probably report you as spam too. Yea, I'm stone cold when it comes to that.

Overall, I think it's really important to remember that social media is a public forum that many professionals use to connect with both clients and peers. Asking sensitive business questions is always best left to private emails.

Other designers and industry professionals, are there any other questions that you'd prefer not be asked publicly?

Wednesdays here on the blog are all about sharing Paper Cuts, which is a behind-the-scenes, down to Earth business advice series. I hope you've enjoyed today's Paper Cuts topic, and look forward to having you back next time! To read past Paper Cut posts, click here.