Netiquette. What is it? It literally is as easy as the word implies. The etiquette that should be upheld while on the net.
With today’s growing technology, it is so easy to say, share, like, and connect. Sitting behind a screen often makes people more secure in posting whatever they want. They believe since they have no traceable evidence, there is no consequence to what they post. But there is. Just like in the real world, the virtual world also has rules it applies to. That’s where netiquette plays a role.
There is no one set of rules for netiquette. But here are some (hopefully) helpful tips to survive the internet.
1. Know The Lingo
Just as there are different cultures in the world with their own set of traditions, the internet , as ever-changing as it may seem, also has some guidelines/traditions. What I mean by referring to cultures, is that you wouldn’t necessarily post the same way that you would in LinkedIn or Snapchat. Each network has their own special way of communicating. In LinkedIn, you would want to be as professional sounding as you could be. But in Twitter, hashtags are involved and you tend to get straight to point due to the lack of space. In Facebook, there will be more posts and pictures of friends and family. Each “culture” is different. Following the lingo will help showcase your proficiency and help you not stick out like a sore thumb.
2. Proper Grammar
There is a time and place for slang. Although “Grammar Nazi” is not always a positive thing, they are still there, and they will hunt you down. Double check what you write before they come pick at you.
Using caps lock for the whole paragraph is a rant no one wants to read. Caps lock is meant to emphasize a word or sentence. Even if it’s by accident, you can’t tell what a person’s tone is through type. So make it easy on everyone and keep it simple.
Emoji’s now play an integral part in technology and it’s a great tool to get your thoughts across. Just don’t go overboard. We don’t need to see 10 fire flames or 5 eggplants. 4Nd N0 1 l!k3s 2 r34d l|k3 tH1s. So just please, don’t. Ever.
3. Always Double Check
Just as stated in the previous point, double check what you write. Not only for the Grammar Nazi's. For yourself. Wanting to sound like an educated person is not a bad thing. People will gravitate to you more if you actually sound like you know what you’re talking about. And as the saying goes, “Once on the internet, always on the internet.” Nowadays, it’s easy to edit a post or comment. Thank God. But the internet always knows when you made a mistake. So just check yourself, before you wreck yourself.
4. Stay On Topic
Sometimes it’s easy to want to be the centre of attention. To the point where you’ll post anything, anywhere. A good example of this is YouTube. Many times the comments have absolutely NOTHING to do with the video. I see it way too often. If you’re going to comment anywhere, at least mention some aspect of the topic. Even if it’s just the creator and not the content.
5. Don’t be a Bully
It’s easy to hide behind a screen. To swear at a random stranger on the net. To put others down and bring yourself up. To become the person you fantasize of being. And often our virtual profile clashes with our real selves. Everyone wants to feel confident and showcase how amazing they are. Even if it’s just online.
Now, I’m not saying it’s bad to express yourself or be confident while on the net. Just do it in a positive way. While bringing yourself up, help others do the same along the way. Be a role model for the community.
Also, respect other people’s opinions. There’s always fights on the internet. It’s unavoidable. Just don’t be rude and bash their comment down. If they are wrong, let them know with the correct information in a nice and factual way.
And when it comes to actual cyber bullying, thankfully, there are forces in check to help alleviate this problem. Reporting the person is a great way to make them stop. It’s anonymous so there’s no backlash. Of course there’s also the option of screen-capping the bullying and showing it to an authority figure. Whether it’s a teacher or an actual police person, there are many people ready to help. And the best way to not be bullied is to abstain from the network. You can always delete your profile on a social network and create a new one if needed. There’s also more privacy settings which help you choose who can communicate with you.
If there’s only one thing you should take away from this post about netiquette, it should be this: Follow the Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would want done unto you. Treat others as you would want to be treated. The internet is for everyone. It doesn’t prejudice or hate and neither should you.