Communicating on the Internet allows you to be part of a community and along with that stems network etiquette rules. Corresponding, writing, or having a conversation on the Internet is no different from having a face-to-face conversation with someone, except that your dialogue takes place over a network. Because a conversation takes place over a network, the standard conversational etiquette rules have been expanded to Netiquette rules.
Some basic ‘Do Not’ guidelines are:
- Do not be rude via the Internet nor email. There are a number of communication avenues, i.e., posts, Facebook, Twitter, etc. No matter which method is used, people should be cordial and respectful to whom they are writing. Would you be happy if someone sent you a critical or cutting remark? As the saying goes, ‘If you haven’t got anything nice to say, don’t say anything’.
- Do not pass on other people’s information. No one is allowed to pass on a person’s information without the approval of the individual. This is a crucial rule to commit to memory especially if you are thinking of passing someone’s personal information. This could lead to a serious offense, so do not even consider it.
- Do not use all capitals when writing as its connotation implies yelling. Bear in mind that the reader cannot see your face and can easily misinterpret its meaning. Appending an emoticon to the capital letters to imply a tease could even be misconstrued as a sarcastic remark. So pay attention to the use of capital letters and only use them for, e.g., acronyms.
- Do not change someone else’s words. What a person writes belongs to them. Do not change someone’s content to be spiteful, harmful, or hurtful.
- Do not send chain letters nor inappropriate links. Not everyone enjoys receiving chain letters. This will just annoy the receiver. If you send someone a chain letter and they respond to you with a ‘please do not send’, then respect their wishes and do not send anymore.
- Do not send spam. Spam is any unwanted email. Set your email options to forward all spam email to either a spam or trash folder where they can all be deleted without any harmful effects.
- Do not spread private chats nor conversations. This is a malicious offense. The conversation you have with someone is private and should remain as private unless they say it is ok to pass the conversation to others. Not following this rule can be damaging and libelous.
- Do not continuously send chat messages to someone who does not reply. Seeing someone on chat doesn’t mean you have to speak with them. Be respectful- if someone does not reply on chat, then they are probably busy.
- Do not send out an email to everyone (i.e., co-workers and managers ) and do not click Reply to All if only one person needs to be the recipient. This is especially true if the other people are not involved with the subject matter. This will only displease fellow associates as they probably receive more emails than they want on a daily basis.
The key rules to remember are to be responsible and respectful. You are accountable for your actions as well as for what you write, so make note of the ‘Do Not’ rules.