Mastering the Art of Netiquette

WAIT! Before you post that photo, share that post, tweet that tweet, or like that video just think to yourself; what would Grandma say?

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As of 2015, over 3.2 billion people across the world use the internet with 2.34 billion users also engaging in social media. With almost half of the world’s population engaging in online communication, the more important the proper use of netiquette becomes. Netiquette is essentially the basic rules of etiquette that are applicable in communicating and behaving online. This online etiquette can be applied to any form of online communication from social media to email responses. In a society consumed and guided by online interactions, it is imperative that we as the consumers learn proper online etiquette and behaviour. Listed below are my top 5 tips for achieving proper netiquette that would make your Grandma proud!

  1. Your Name is your Brand
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Anything that you post on the internet with your name attached to it ultimately represents you and your personal branding. When sharing anything online, whether it be a video, a blog, a written post on social media or even an email, you should ask yourself some basic questions before doing so. How will this represent me? How will people react to what I’m saying? Will this be tied to my personal brand in a positive or negative way? If what you wish to share online is not something that you want associated with your name, then maybe you shouldn’t share it with the internet (or at least share it anonymously)

2. Facebook is for Family

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Facebook is currently one of the largest social media platforms with over one billion users. In recent years, many new social media platforms such as Instagram, Whatsapp, and Snapchat have become increasingly popular among younger audiences. This could be in part because they are considered the “new trend” in social media but it could also be due to that fact that many young individuals are deliberately moving away from Facebook. Why you may ask? This could be due to the fact that 74% of parents who use social media are Facebook Users. That being said, if you do choose to use Facebook as a social media outlet, choose your words wisely or you’ll be getting a very passive aggressive Facebook message from mom!

If you happen to have parents or other family members tied to your Facebook page or any other social media platform, try to remember who your audience is. Try to avoid using foul language in posts or sharing/posting offensive content. Sure, that video of you and your friends almost setting yourselves on fire might be funny to your classmates, but it may not seem so “funny” to grandma.

3. Always Think; How Will this Affect my Career?

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There have many instances where people have made mistakes over the internet, and not surprisingly, many of these mistakes resulted individuals being terminated from their jobs/careers. Before you post, share, or link anything through social media, you should always consider the potential consequences. How will this look for my company? Will this affect future career opportunities? Will this result in a loss of business? All of these are good questions to ask before you represent yourself on social media. Below are several videos that demonstrate the need for netiquette and the consequences for posting through social media without considering the possible outcomes.

4. Read, Reflect, and Respond

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Many times with online communication people get into heated debates about various subjects whether it be in regards to politics, controversial news, viral media, or simply a debate over the best ice cream flavor (obviously mint chocolate chip). Some of these debates can be intellectual conversations that spark critical thinking and new ideas, while others not so much. If you happen to see something online that you disagree with, follow the three “R’s” to help you through your conversation;

Read: before you do anything else, carefully read through the statement several times to make sure you fully understand what the individual is trying to say.

Reflect: once you have read the statement over, take a moment to reflect on what was said. Think the statement through from your perspective then try to understand the statement through the writers perspective. Where are they coming from? Is there a deeper message behind the statement?

Respond: After you have read and reflected upon the statement and you wish to react, remember to stay calm when you are writing your response. Sometimes when we are upset we can’t clearly think through our own statements and may later regret what was said. Remember, we can only control how we choose to respond.

Repeat these three steps for each conversation and response in order to maintain a cool and collective online conversation (or at least on your part).

5. The Internet is forever!

Always remember that the internet is forever, and what ever we post on the internet STAYS on the internet. You should always think to yourself, “do I really want this to be immortalized in the digital world forever?” If the answer to that question is no, then maybe you should refrain from posting. If the answer happens to be yes, then share away my friends!