Over the past few months, I have frequently found myself shocked and stunned by people’s etiquette (or lack thereof) online on various social networks from Facebook and Twitter, to blogs, Google+ and more. Of course, Netiquette is just a big and fancy work for having etiquette on the internet. But just what are the rules?
Well, the simplest rule online is to only say or do things to others that you would want them to say or do to you! If you want to have a discussion with someone about something contentious, private email is the way to go. It’s a bit like, in business, raising an issue in a meeting with colleagues, or waiting to speak to the individual on a one-to-one basis. But, the internet is bigger than a meeting room – much, much bigger. And you don’t know who will read your comment/post or whatever …. today, tomorrow or in the future. Sometimes your comments are hard to remove from the written record and/or to erase from people’s memories.
On Ohmygoodnessgracious.com, I found a delightful use of the work Netiquette to explain the ‘rules of online etiquette’:
Necessary: Do people really need to know what you are posting?
Exemplary: Are you portraying yourself in a model fashion?
Thought-provoking: Is your post interesting?
Idealistic: Do your thoughts show principle?
Quotable: If someone used the words in your post to define you, how would you be remembered?
Understandable: Can people understand what you are saying? What about your tone?
Essential: Is what you are saying essential to the situation or conversation?
Trustworthy: Do your words portray you as someone who people can trust and confide in?
True: Do I really need to explain this one? Don’t lie. Ever.
Exactly what you intended: Overall, does your post portray exactly what you intended it to convey?
If the answer is ‘No’ to any of the above, the simple answer is …. don’t post it!