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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Your Guide to Maintaining Good Internet Etiquette

Internet Etiquette, netiquette, professional, online behavior, social media, online marketing
Gone are the days when "internet" simply meant talking on chat rooms and typing-in old documents. So many different things are done via the internet these days - from talking with friends and family in real time (even when they're on the other side of the globe), to talking on forums and seminars, and even maintaining entire offices. With so much being done online today, it is all the more important for people to put their best foot forward online in every way they can. From talking on social media to answering emails and online advertising to website content, it is always good to think before you share while also following some basic rules.

Here are some ways in which you can keep your internet etiquette (or should we say, "netiquette") in check:

Mind Your Manners

Just because you're not actually talking face-to-face with the other person, doesn't mean that you are free to say or do anything you like and not bear the consequences. Remember, any professional relationships you build online are just like the ones you make in real life - they are based on mutual respect and politeness.

Here's a small tip to help you get started: If you would not normally say or do something in a face-to-face conversation, make sure that you don't post it online either.

Avoid Strong Language

While strong language does include rude and foul words, those are only a part of the concept. Strong language can mean a lot of things. For instance, refrain from writing overtly verbose language - you are communicating to another person, not showing-off your superior vocabulary skills. Avoid words and expressions that qualify as rude and foul in any way.

Another thing to take notice of is not using all caps while writing. While many consider this a way of making their posts and messages more easily readable, it is often interpreted as a shouting expression, which is considered rude in most instances.

simulated text chat conversation demonstrating the misuse of CAPS

Proofread Your Work

As in real life, there are different ways of communicating with friends and co-workers or colleagues. For instance, a 'Gr8' can work with your sister, but won't fly with your boss. Sticking to formality, writing in proper writing style and keeping up all the grammar rules is always the best practice.

Be Extra-Careful With Sarcasm and Humor

When it comes to sarcasm and humor, interpretations vary from one culture, and even from one person to another. While it is understandable for you to express sarcasm and/or humor every once in a while, you must make sure that the message you convey expresses the intended message clearly. More often than not, a well-meant joke can be interpreted as an offensive statement.

Don't Forget to Cite Your Sources

One simply cannot be expected to come up with a fabulous original thought all the time. If you do borrow a thought or an idea that in fact belongs to someone else, make sure to credit them even if your expression of the idea isn't a word-by-word copy. Not only does that keep you out of possible copyright-related trouble, it also creates a good impression on others by showing them that you are humble enough to mention when a great idea isn't yours. Copyright infringement in the form of duplicated website content is also greatly frowned upon by Google and, if abused, is a penalizable offense.

With the internet expanding into virtually all facets of our lives, there are now countless things that are done online; from texting your best friend, to booking an appointment, and even working in offices. While it may be tempting to forget the rules and "hide" behind your computer, it is certainly not a good thing to do and can do irreparable damage to your reputation. Before you click that 'send' button, make sure that you have followed all there is to proper internet etiquette.

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