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Netiquette: Texting or tweeting, time may not be on your side

When you send those texts, tweets or other digital messages can reflect poorly on you if you're not careful.
When you send those texts, tweets or other digital messages can reflect poorly on you if you're not careful.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • When sharing texts and tweets, time might not be on your side
  • Sending an angry text to an ex at 3 p.m. is reasonable; 3 a.m. is crazy
  • Calling during work hours should be saved for important stuff
  • Pro tip: Don't tweet from the beach when you've called in sick

Editor's note: Brenna Ehrlich and Andrea Bartz have been the sarcastic brains behind the blog and book "Stuff Hipsters Hate." Got a question about etiquette in the digital world? Contact them at netiquette@cnn.com.

(CNN) -- Timestamps are all over the ever-loving place on the Web: on your tweets, Facebook posts, text messages, ill-thought-out, angry e-mails to exes, etc.

And let me tell you, true friends and trolls, those little numbers matter more than you think.

Let's consider the aforementioned ill-thought-out, angry e-mail to an ex (because who hasn't sent one of those): Send it at 3 p.m. on a Monday, and you come off as righteous and wronged. Send it at 3 a.m. on a Saturday, and you come off as dangerous and deranged.

And that's just the tip of the numerical iceberg, kids. Read on for four instances in which timing is everything.

Texting a potential date

You're a notorious night hawk, a rebel with a very good cause: monitoring the feeding habits of a very rare species of owl.

Consequently, you are mostly nocturnal. However, you still manage to meet a lovely "daylight person" (as you call people who adhere to the mainstream constraints of timekeeping) at jury duty one day.

A few nights pass, and you finally work up the urge to text her an invite to coffee, a missive you shoot off in between watching one owl rip off a mouse's head and sorting through another owl's freshly deposited pellets. Three nights later, she still has not responded, perhaps because the timestamp of your text read 3:30 a.m.

Look, we get that everyone is on a different clock and not all denizens of this thing we call Earth are 9-to-5ers, but let's just get this straight right now: If you text a romantic interest after, say, 10 p.m., they're going to think you're (a) drunk, (b) horny, (c) drunk and horny. Save your declarations of like for the daylight hours -- or else seek out a mate with similarly night owl-esque tendencies.

Sending a business e-mail

It's Saturday afternoon, and you have the bestest idea ever about how to totally and completely revolutionize the company's overall productivity -- and it includes five rubber bands, two clown masks and roughly 15,000 bobblehead dolls.

Practically sweating glee, you fire up your work inbox and shoot off an e-mail to your entire department, outlining the plan in great detail. Almost as an afterthought, you scrawl, "No need to respond to this right now. I know that it's the weekend."

You're right, o genius of productivity, it is the weekend -- which means the only people who will see your e-mail are (a) people with no lives, (b) people who are paranoid and anxious, or (c) people with no lives who are paranoid and anxious.

Must you stress said people out even more with your idle ruminations? Plus, when everyone else gets to work on Monday, faced with the grim task of sorting through all the e-mail that has accumulated over the past few days, there your message will be, buried among the rubble and, consequently, forgotten.

When struck with lazy day inspiration, we suggest dashing off your e-mail and then scheduling it to be sent out on Monday morning -- there are plenty of apps, like Boomerang, that will let you do so. That way, your idea will shine through the tempest of weekend missives like the glorious beacon that it is -- plus, everyone won't hate you.

Calling a family member

You're at the local thrift store, and you happen upon the most darling china doll with a lovely, delicate face reminiscent of your treasured only son, who now works so, so far away in the crumbling asphalt jungle that is the city.

He's a high-powered man, you know, the founder of an ingenious app that promises to revolutionize the shambles that is modern-day romance (or so he tells you; in actuality, it's a mobile tool that catalogs all the best public restrooms for hooking up with randoms).

As you gaze into the oh-so-sweet face of Francis the Goatherd -- as his tag reads -- you feel the overwhelming urge to call up your own china doll and tell him about his dolly doppelganger. You pull out your ancient cracked flip phone and dial his number ... and recoil in horror as your loving son answers on the first ring with an enraged, "What, Mom? Who died?"

Although it would be easy to blame the broken doll shards -- you dropped Francis in your frenzied distress -- on your ungrateful son, one only has to look to one of the many synchronously ticking clocks on the thrift store wall to realize that 2 p.m. on a Tuesday is not exactly the best time for a check-in call with your pride and joy. Especially if he or she has lived up to that title by securing him/herself a cherry job.

Unless Francis the Goatherd has been possessed by the devil and is currently choking you to death, save any and all ruminations about his porcelain fingers for after work hours.

Tweeting about your super rad beach day ...

... after calling in sick. Unless they're utter Luddites, your bosses know how to use Twitter, too.

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