Web Manners Matter!
Best Practices In Netiquette
The internet is quite the beast. The wealth of information available on the web is veritably beyond human comprehension, and sometimes accessing or trying to help add to the collective can be a daunting task. The task can become even more intimidating when it comes down to interacting with other web users.
In my experience with the internet, it’s important to remember that just because it’s only you and a screen doesn’t mean that there aren’t real people on the other side. We often forget our manners when it comes to the digital world. The anonymity of the internet gives people plenty of space to be rude and insensitive, and users often succumb to the temptation to abuse that cover.
But today I’m writing to try and refresh that good old sense of courtesy inside all of us. You know, those morals and manners that your grandma once tried to beat into you? Below I’ve drawn up a list of online etiquette (netiquette) essentials that I think every web surfer should be aware of. Hopefully it can help provide some insight that will make the exchange of information the best experience possible for people on either side of the screen.
Make sure that you know the rules of the websites you use. Almost every website or online social forum has a set of rules to follow. Your activity on that site should abide by them because by engaging in activity on that site, you are agreeing to those terms and conditions.
Remember that the internet is available to everyone who has a smart phone, tablet or computer; there is nothing private on the internet! Always keep this in mind when you’re posting online, because just like in real life online impressions can make a huge difference in how people perceive you.
Building on that last point, don’t overshare. Have you ever had someone you follow post a thousand pictures to Instagram in a row? Yeah, it’s annoying. We know you want to post every perfect selfie, but resist the urge, don’t be a spam poster.
Again related, don’t spam peoples’ emails. Be concise when sending emails and sometimes consider that email isn’t the best form of communication when trying to work something out. On the same note, don’t be one of those people who helps propagate nonsense by sending or responding to mass forward-ings of chain letters. Put that rubbish where it belongs, in the trash.
Be aware of copyrighted work, which can include text, images, videos, etc. If it’s not your original content, be sure to search around for information or policies on the use of that work. Don’t forget to credit the source! If it is your own original content, be sure to outline for others your stance on your work being shared.
Don’t be afraid to share your knowledge or opinions, but don’t be surprised if others feel differently than you do. Also, don’t get angry if someone corrects you; as long as that person’s data checks out and is backed by facts and not opinion. Keep yourself open to learning new things!
Try to be forgiving of other people’s mistakes. When someone makes an error and you think it’s worth your time to correct them, be kind about it. If it’s something small, like grammar maybe you should reconsider and not even bother. If it’s something you’re really passionate about, think about how you’d feel before ranting away. If you do choose to correct someone, perhaps you can choose to do so over a private method of communication. Try not to be arrogant or self-righteous, no one likes a prick!
Avoid overusing emojis because they can lose their cuteness. Emojis are a huge deal when it comes to texting. They often help to add a touch of relatable emotion to what might otherwise seem a bland statement. However, when someone places enough emojis in a row for it to look like some form of modern hieroglyphics, enough is enough!
Don’t forget that TYPING IN ALL CAPS MEANS YOU’RE YELLING. Try bold type for your font or underlining if you feel like you need to emphasize a point. On the same token, don’t forget to capitalize when required. Writing in all lower case comes across as informal and unprofessional.
Well there it is, my top need-to-know rules for the best netiquette. I hope this was informative and helpful to someone out there.