Note: The beautiful video that I've linked plays "Let it Go!" and the performer is a friend.
Be sure to read the section near the end on "Tips for Asking Notary Questions and Giving Answers on Social Media.")
I have been learning to "Let it Go!"
If I don't learn this...if I don't learn to step away from the keyboard and smile, I might as well change this site's name to Mean Notary News! I will become that unlikable person who is just always trying to make trouble and attacking other notaries.
I'm going to try to make peace with it through this article about my pet peeve, and then, I will let it go!!
Pet Peeve: Experienced Notaries Giving out Wrong Answers
When a new notary asks a question about his or her duties on a forum or via social media, an experienced notary usually quips an answer to help out the notary.
That's a great way to get quick help and answers, but..
Too many times the helpful experienced notary is wrong!
It's crazy making.
Tons of notaries read and believe what these helpful long-time notaries say. It's powerful stuff.
In the past, I would have said something. Not rudely, but I would do something to create doubt about a wrong answer that was hanging up there reeking like a stinky pair of socks.
Sometimes I shared a law or other credible source that would clarify the right answer. But, finally, I've learned it's bad juju to push it. It makes people feel negatively about me and what I write.
I don't want to hear "She is a Mean Notary Blogger."That isn't the reputation I have worked for years to have, so backing away from the keyboard is better. Believe me, these situations can go downhill fast! I have learned that if I produce the law that gives and accurate answer, the argument is "That isn't the way we interpret it." If I share that I have talked to an attorney about it (and I have if I say I have), I am told that "Attorneys don't know anything about notary laws."
The more I have tried to be polite and get the right answer out there, the meaner and dumber I look! (I know that some of you have had this happen too--you know exactly what I mean.)
I'll just hit the button to publish this article and let it go!
In the future, I can share this link if I want to make a point!
Tips for Asking Notary Questions and Giving Answers on Social Medial
For the Question Askers (New Notaries)
It's great to ask for help on social media, but you may get bad information.
Follow up on the response when you can. Research your laws and check with your state's notary public administrator. You are responsible for deciding what you will rely upon to guide you.
Keep in mind that experienced notaries come in several flavors!
- Many experienced notaries are the real deal and very knowledgeable. They may read their notary laws for fun and quote them like poetry, but everyone makes mistakes.
- Too many experienced notaries have never have read notary laws or educational materials. They simply go on what "this notary up in Dallas told me." Beware.
- There are people who have to be the smartest one in the room no matter what the topic. They don't need to bother knowing what's accurate...they just know they are smarter than everyone else. They are full of bull. Beware.
For the Helpful Answer Givers (Experienced Notaries)
This issue is similar to how terrible parents never read anything about being a good parent!
If you are reading this, it's unlikely that I have seen you give bad advice. Those who do it would not know a credible source if it slapped 'em on the rump.
They are fond of citing Wikipedia's generalized articles, laws other than those pertaining to the notary or her question, random bloggers who write about everything other than notary issues, and a ton of links that have no bearing whatsoever.
If you give answers, you'll be more professional and credible to SNAP (that is, the Secret Notary Answer Police*) if you follow these guidelines.
- Make sure you can cite a credible source for your answer. (Cite the credible source if you have time--it's very helpful.)
- By credible source, I mean the laws of the notary's state, notary public administrator's office of the notary's state, an attorney and not much else.
- Over the years, I have realized that notary companies and notary associations are often thinking more about the laws in California or Florida (for some reason) no matter where they are located. Their web content may be a little too general. Sometimes, you run across junk, but there IS a lot of good information available there. Refer new notaries to the American Society of Notaries' (ASN's)(1) materials over other choices. The ASN publishes accurate notary articles and educational materials.
- By the way, if you can't cite a credible source for an answer that you give, just say "This is how I do it and I can't cite a good source for why I do it." To me, that makes you quite credible!!
QUESTIONS ANYONE? Please send them. I love questions!
Thanks for reading!
*SNAP doesn't exist! Just kidding. I made that up.
(1)ASN's Kathleen Butler is the Executive Directory of the American Society of Notaries. She is also familiar with notary laws across the U.S. Kathleen writes articles for the ASN and compiles reference materials that are popular tools with the Notary Public Administrator Section of NASS.org.