- Internet & the Web
Netiquette Rules for Effective Online Communication
Netiquette for Business, Social Media and Everyday Life
By the first half of 2015, the number of Internet users reached 3.27 billion. The Web (like it was meant to) has become a powerful platform for business, leisure and communication. Since the Internet represents an international community, there must be certain rules to maintain respectful relationships between its members. That’s how the netiquette idea came to life.
What is Internet etiquette – or netiquette, to be more exact? Are there any benefits of being Web-friendly? Read on to find out!
Top 10 netiquette rules for everyone
- Think before you write. The Internet is a meeting place for people from all over the world. Although online chats and forums offer incredible opportunities for communication, the whole process gets impersonal. You don’t normally see your companion, his mimics and gestures, so the chances of misinterpreting his words are extremely high. As a result, your message or comment might hurt someone else’s feelings;
- Follow real-life etiquette rules while online. The reason why trolling, cyber bullying and virtual mobbing still exist is the vague chance of getting caught and punished for inappropriate behavior. Keep in mind that any kind of law infringement, whether it is an insulting review or illegal download, are considered Bad Netiquette;
- When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Every social platform has its do’s and don’ts. If you’ve just created an account, be sure to read user guidelines and stick to the rules;
- Don’t waste other people’s time. Contributors and guest writers are totally responsible for the time users spend on reading their articles. Provide relevant information and try not to post the same content multiple times. Carefully choose addressees from email list;
- Make a good impression. Having read the previous tips, you might think the Web is a terrible place full of trolls and maniacs. In fact, most users simply long for recognition, sympathy and attention. You can always win yourself a bunch of likes and followers by being nice! Write briefly, mind your grammar, check facts and provide links if you aren’t sure about something. Swear words are to be avoided. However, you can use euphemisms and ***-fillers for the sake of humor;
- Show your expertise. Initially, the Web was launched for scientific purposes. As years went by, the platform was invaded by nonscholars and, to some extent, lost its reference properties. However, most people still surf the Internet for scientific data. You are always welcome to share your knowledge on a subject you’re good at. Reply to other users’ comments, ask for replies by email if you don’t visit the forum too often, write FAQ blogs, post e-books and reference lists. Hard work will pay off!
- Do not engage in flame wars and controversial conversations. The term “flaming” refers to heated online discussions. Its participants do not bother to hold their emotions and show respect to others; the use of offensive words is not infrequent. Flame wars contradict the whole concept of an online community and alienate its members;
- Respect privacy. Never look through other people’s emails and private messages in social networks. It’s not simply bad net etiquette – it’s one of the rules we’re all obliged to follow;
- Do not abuse your authority. The power of Internet users ranges from a web dummy to a sysadmin (and even higher!). If you’re in charge of network connection management, never read your colleagues’ mail and Skype messages;
- Everyone makes mistakes. Not many people have actually had the advantage of studying the netiquette core rules. Whenever you see someone’s made a mistake, think twice before you correct them. They might be forum newcomers or foreigners who cannot write proper English. Anyway, if measures are to be taken, compose a delicate private email. Trashing someone in public does make you an ill-mannered person.
The Internet etiquette for emails
According to Nancy and Tom Flynn, writing appropriate business-like emails can improve your company’s marketing efficiency and reduce liability risks. Let’s try to define the key features of a good business letter:
- All-capital writing is a taboo. When you read an email written in all capitals, you get the impression you’re being shouted at. It certainly annoys people and might cause misunderstanding;
- Utilize mail merge or BCC field to craft unique emails to numerous addressees from the list. Scrolling through a hundred recipients (especially via smartphone) takes a lot of time. Also, some users prefer not to disclose their emails, and you should respect your clients’ privacy;
- Protect confidential information. Emails are easy to copy and send forward, that’s why you should never discuss private issues online;
- Be professional. SMS-friendly abbreviations and emoticons are fun and often help to enlighten the situation. However, readers might misinterpret this sort of language and think you’re being childish;
- Delivery & read receipt confirmations irritate your clients. Most users block this function anyway. If you want to know whether your email was delivered, you’d better ask about it in person.
Social media netiquette guidelines
By 2016, the number of social media users is expected to hit 2.13 billion. Most businesses address vendors with great expertise in mobile software development to design apps which function as social platforms. The Web is all about communication, so the question of net etiquette is urgent indeed. Some of the tips we’re about to cite may correlate with the ones mentioned above. Still, repetition is the mother of learning, right?
- Individuality is the answer. We live in the era of globalization, trying to adjust to the ever-changing trends. If you want to have many followers and become a social media star, be authentic: write your own posts, provide extraordinary opinion on popular topics and compliment other users if they deserve appraisal;
- Avoid spam while promoting your account, goods and services. Advertising is essential for any business; yet, you can always write a personal message instead of posting content on user profiles;
- Be truly interested in your subscribers’ SM-life. We enjoy getting tons of likes and comments, but the process should be mutual. Those who want to build a solid follower list have to click the “Share” and “Like” buttons on a regular basis;
- Send personalized messages to people you want to befriend;
- Stay neutral. Controversial topics will definitely cause heated arguments and bring you a thousand comments; however, many users do not share your opinion on a particular subject (religion, politics, etc.) and may unfollow you;
- Never tag people in bad photos;
- Send/write/post and engage in a conversation only if it’s necessary;
- A word spoken is past recalling. Every message or post you craft should be proof-read and spelling-checked;
- Don’t overuse abbreviations. LOL, ROTFL and IDK are fun and social media-friendly. However, excessive usage of such acronyms makes reading difficult.