Net etiquette — Netiquette! A Guide to a Better Online Conversation.

What is Netiquette? It is the idea that as we strive to be well-spoken and respectable people when conversing with others in life, we should also strive to achieve those same qualities through any online medium. So, what makes conversing online any different from the real thing? Through this blog-post, I will give you the answer to this question along with many basic guidelines that one should follow when participating in an online forum.

Source: WebMD

Here are my TOP 2 rules to follow when conversing online:

#1 Remember there is a Person on the Other End

I placed this as #1 for a reason and it is because through any online forum, people want to be treated with respect and dignity. Most people try to carry out a conversation or reinforce their arguments with hard facts. The problem is that because communicating through the internet is so much more different than communicating in person, this leads to people forgetting 2 main things:

1 — Because the reach is so vast, you will most likely encounter others that don’t share the same opinion as you or have strictly opposite opinions.

2 — There is a person behind the comments/words that are being read.

Now let me emphasize that second point, “There is a person behind the comments/words that are being read”. This means that because we are online instead of face-to-face, some may forget that opinions may differ from your own or may be a completely absurd opinion, but that is no reason to turn a civil argument into a screaming match. Through my own experience with many online forums like Reddit, if an argument begins to turn into a forum for people to personally attack each other, all their opinions become invalid as they fail to support their arguments and instead attack each other.

#2 Be Consistent

This rule hits home to me as a marketing major because Social Media marketing has become such an effective tool for businesses to connect directly to their consumers and to reach their long tail. However, I have found that many businesses fail to create an effective Social Media platform and one of the main reasons is that they fail to stay on topic. This is important in the business sense because when a consumer looks up “Toronto Maple Leafs” on Facebook, they want to see exactly that! From videos, pictures, updates — to online forums and fan pages. However, if you throw in a couple videos about dogs, this will just confuse the consumer and potentially lose a follow.

With websites like Reddit, this can be applied to you as well. Within a forum, people seek consistency because every post/comment should contribute to the forum so that everyone gets what they came for. Posts that are off topic are usually frowned upon with dislikes or simply removed by moderators.

Remember that conversing online differs greatly than in person because communication is believed to be influenced by non-verbal factors like body language and tone. So as humans it becomes a challenge to communicate effectively online as all these factors are removed. Through the use of my tips and some extra resources that I will provide, I wish you good luck!

Source: Giphy

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