When I was 12 years old, I created a newspaper. It was called The East County Street Free Press. East County Street was where we lived, a curious little branch off the much grander County Street, or Route 138, which ran nearly all the way to Boston. There were a total of six houses on the street, and not much happened there.

I wanted to publish because I was, then as now, a writer and reader. Besides devouring every volume of The Childhood of Famous Americans series that the public library owned, I read the newspaper my father brought home from work.

Also, this was 1968, a year of change and upheaval in American society. I wasn’t a child prodigy with my notion of a free press. That was a term I likely heard every day.

I often think of my little venture when I am annoyed, which happens quite frequently, by the fact that so many people lack communication skills and info smarts. How was it that I, at age 12, had the urge to impart information? How did I know that if I wanted to do so unimpeded, I had to launch my own newspaper?

I do recognize that it is because I am so verbally oriented (not to mention opinionated) that communication failures disturb me. This topic isn’t even on the radar of those who, say, post pictures on Facebook without any context. OK, see, there’s one of my top peeves. We have at our disposal more ways to communicate and connect than ever before. (I would have been a kid blogger!) But many of us don’t know what to do with this technological bounty.

Here’s a suggestion: Always write a caption when you post something on social media. Do not just put up a picture of yourself in front of the Eiffel Tower. And don’t just say “ooh la la,” either. Tell me what’s happening, and whether it was yesterday or five years ago.

Professional writers understand they need to know who their readers are. You have 245 friends who are your readers. The person who has been your best friend forever knows that the photo of a little girl with cake smeared all over her face is you at age 5. The rest of us don’t.

Dare I touch the third rail? It’s posters who say, “I’m sad today.” That’s it. No explanation. This is a good way to get people to ask what happened and to express sympathy for you. It is also a horrible way to try to communicate.

“Jesus wept.” Yes, even the shortest verse in the Bible had plenty of context.

When other people’s cryptic posts leave Facebook friends wondering what is going on, I sometimes put them out of their misery with an explanatory private message: “Griselda is sad today because she accidentally hit ‘reply all’ on an e-mail at work.” Confidential matters should not be alluded to in posts. It maddens people, and not just nosy parkers like me. There are kindhearted souls out there who care and worry about their friends. I think.

Facebook is a business, just as this newspaper is. This is my second bugbear: Few people understand what this means. I will explain. True freedom of speech is exemplified by the guy standing on a soapbox in a park proclaiming, “The end is near.” We can do what we like with our voices, pens and keyboards, but in most cases, someone else owns the means of publication. You can try to post an offensive video of a beheading in Syria on YouTube, but it will get taken down.

I’ve heard people say they were going to “put something in the paper,” and they didn’t mean an ad. I wondered how that worked. News stories and columns such as these don’t get “put.” Early in my career I had an assignment dealing with public relations announcements — museum openings, library events, children’s activities and the like. Usually we ran everything, but every once in a while there would be something dubious, unintelligible or downright ridiculous. It did not get put.

Later, I reviewed and edited letters to the editor. This is another area where it might seem things get put, but they don’t always. A letter won’t get put if it’s racist, for example, or if the writer has signed it using a false name. It especially won’t get put if it says, “I’m sad today.”

Even letter writers have to make the editor happy. It’s a lesson I learned way back, when I called the shots at the East County Street Free Press.

Liz Soares welcomes e-mail at [email protected]