10/19/2012 04:08 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

eWise: Socially Engaged, Email Address Woes

Have a question about electronic etiquette? Email


I recently found out my niece got engaged — over Facebook. I talked to her after the fact and she says she changed her status the night it happened. I understand her excitement, but wouldn't it have been better to wait and make a few calls, or even emails, before telling the world?
- Left-out aunt

Of course. I hope your niece called her parents before making the status change, or she may have trouble finding someone to pay for her wedding. Facebook is great for learning about the engagement of a high school ex, but it’s the last place we want to discover meaningful news from a loved one. Your niece owed her close friends and relatives some personal contact—text, IM, phone call and email are all better choices than a Facebook announcement. The status change could have waited a day until you all were in the know. At least she did one thing right. No one wants to see ring close-ups or read a lengthy missive on the proposal—a quiet status change or sweet, simple line about the happy news will keep friends from wishing for a “dislike” button.

My name is pretty common, and my gmail address is my first and last name followed by several numbers. (All combinations of my names, initials, etc were already taken.) A friend thinks that numbers in an email address looks unprofessional and could hurt me when I am looking for work. Is that true or is it better to at least have an email address that includes your name, even if it has numbers?
- M.B.

Depends on how many numbers your email address requires, but please keep your full name in there rather than calling yourself something less descriptive, at best. FirstnameLastname followed by the lowest number possible—exclusing zeros as they can be mistaken for O’s—is pretty standard, and understandable considering you have a common name. If you want to highlight the industry you’re in or what you do, you could also try something like Or stick the name of your city or “mail” in the address. You can also set up your own domain or claim your name on a smaller webmail service and run it through gmail. Just avoid putting your birth year in there as that doesn’t age well.

Have a question about electronic etiquette? Email

This story originally appeared in our weekly iPad magazine, Huffington, in the iTunes App store.