7 Tips on how to Rule The Internet

You’ve heard of the internet. You’ve heard of etiquette. But have you heard of “Netiquette”? Netiquette is exactly what it sounds like: basic, social rules on how to use the internet and all of its platforms to communicate well with others.

The Internet: a treasure trove of memes, celebrity updates, answers to your math test questions, grandmas on Facebook, and angst-filled teenagers. Our technology has progressed to the point that we can use the internet to connect instantly with people from all over the world, share ideas and information at the click of the button, learn about the world more thoroughly and quickly than ever before, promote our brands and ourselves, and send each other little moving pictures like the ones in Harry Potter!

Ladies and gentlemen, we have achieved Wizardry.

However, not all who use the internet are able to harness the power of the world wide web appropriately. How do you know if you are one of these poor, unfortunate souls? Well, buckle your seat belts, because you are about to take a journey through the inner workings of the internet, and, similar to Harry at Hogwarts, learn to harness your internet powers.

1. Are you a human?

Cool, because everyone else on the internet is too! (Except for the bots. Watch out for the bots.)

It is sometimes easy to forget that the people behind the digital words you see on your screen are real people. No matter how many selfies they post on Instagram, you can feel detached from other humans when you are not interacting with them face to face.

When you are having a conversation with someone online, there are some important things to remember:

  • Express yourself clearly, because it is hard to determine what tone or emotion a person is conveying through their words! Granted, this is hard with Twitter’s 140 character limit, but clear language — and, in unprofessional settings, emojis — always help!
Disclaimer: It is not recommended that you send these to your boss.
  • Don’t say something you would never say in real life (or as the internet kids call it, “IRL”). Sometimes, it’s hard to forget YOU’RE human too when you can hide behind a computer screen. Don’t be mean to people!

2. Don’t spam!

Even if your eyebrows are the most “on fleek” they have ever been, do not post thirty-nine pictures in a row of you in slightly varied poses for all of cyberspace to have to deal with! Whether it’s selfies, emails, or similar posts, spamming is never a good online habit. Not only will you annoy your followers and/or readers, but your message will hold less and less importance the more you hit people over the head with your flurry of posts.

Don’t be this guy.

3. Nothing is private!

The “Terms and Conditions” is a scary, scary no-man’s land that very few people are brave enough to traverse. But, in those Terms and Conditions, you might come across some frightening statements that prove that your online content is not as safe as you might think! Remember that anyone can see your Facebook, twitter, and blog posts. Privacy settings are always a good way to go, but can limit your use. Be careful with what you put online! And remember that employers do go searching the web for anything they can find on you — so make a good impression!

A comprehensive list of things NOT TO SEND INTO CYBERSPACE:

  • Your phone number
  • Your SIN number
  • Your address
  • Banking/financial information
  • Usernames and passwords
  • Pictures from that one time in college when you did a keg stand and then blacked out for the rest of the night, awaking to find your face covered in whipped cream

4. Reply as soon as you can!

In this bustling world, people hate to be kept waiting. It doesn’t matter if it’s a professional email or a “hey ;)”. Though we all have lives offline, a majority of people use online resources to communicate with each other. Make sure you are on top of your inboxes and that you are responding to people efficiently!

“Soon as you see the text, reply me” - Aubrey Drake Graham


A prime example of some disgustingly offensive online language

Just like in real life, except with higher stakes, be educated before you voice an opinion — especially on topical matters such as politics, racism, feminism, current events, etc. You do not want to look like a fool on the internet, because people can be ruthless! If you say something offensive or misinformed, upset people WILL come after you. Be respectful, and if it comes to a disagreement, don’t let it turn into a full-blown argument. Stay civil, and learn your facts.

6. Make Yourself Look Good

Being on social media platforms is more than just having an account and sharing Buzzfeed articles with your friends. Many savvy people use the internet to create their image! Even if you do not intend to do so, everything you do on the internet will, by default, create an online image for yourself that others will have access to.

Use social media as a tool to get your name out there!

On the internet, you have the option to remain anonymous to the point that you can’t be judged by your race, gender, sexuality, etc. But you WILL be judged by your quality of writing, as well as the content. Make sure to reach out to people and interact with them amicably! Do not have a blog dedicated to negative ideas, or a twitter that you use to constantly complain. These things are all part of your image — which doesn’t just stay online!

7. Don’t Suddenly Become Illiterate

If you’re reading this article, it means you can read. Which means you have the capacity to use normal language on the internet, n0t $tUf lyke diS.

Using some internet jargon is fun every once and awhile, but when using platforms that can be viewed by professionals, make sure you’re expressing yourself in the best way that you can! Again, sometimes that tweet limit means you have to cut out some punctuation, but you should always aim to post cohesive messages!

Congratulations! You now know how harness your powers! With these seven easy rules, you too can become a savvy, internet-smart individual who knows how to communicate with your fellow humans on the world wide web (just remember to watch out for the bots).

 BBC — WebWise — What is netiquette?. (2016). Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 13 September 2016, from

The Core Rules of Netiquette — Excerpted from Netiquette by Virginia Shea — Albion.com. (2016). Albion.com. Retrieved 13 September 2016, from http://www.albion.com/netiquette/corerules.html

Netiquette: Rules of Behavior on the Internet | Education.com. (2016). Education.com. Retrieved 13 September 2016, from http://www.education.com/reference/article/netiquette-rules-behavior-internet/