What is etiquette online?
Etiquette in technology, referred to as netiquette, regulates what conduct is considered acceptable in an online or digital environment. Netiquette provides general conduct guidelines and reminders, such as not using all capital letters because it is the equivalent of shouting or shorthand texting abbreviations that can be easily misunderstood. Participants in the online environment should use a more formal approach than we find via social media avenues. Even though most of the work is taking place online the digital classroom should resemble acceptable behavior in a traditional classroom environment. The social code of netiquette guidelines below will also help reduce online miscommunication.
General Netiquette Rules:
- Make the Connection.
- Pay attention to the context of your postings.
- Responses submitted in discussion forums, blog posts and other communication platforms in the online space need to be written in a way that is logical and clear to your peers.
- Be Professional.
- Remember that there is another person on the other side of the computer.
- Sometimes people incorrectly think that when communicating in the online space that there are lower standards of ethics or personal behavior.
- While communication may be present in multiple forms in the online space, professional standards are not lower than they are in real life.
- If conflicted about what professionalism is online, consult the code and values followed in your day-to-day professional life. Chances are you will find the appropriate answer.
- Agree to Disagree – Be Pleasant and Polite.
- You will not always agree with everyone.
- Remember that people are presenting from their own perspectives and experiences.
- Do not use offensive language or be confrontational for the sake of confrontation. Challenging ideas put forth by peers is acceptable, but must be done so in a collegial manner and not personalized.
- Ask Questions.
- Remember that people in the online community come from various backgrounds.
- Culture is a set of shared values which influences communication and may explain the context of offered statements. Before drawing negative conclusions, ask for clarification.
- Forgive Your Community Members.
- Not everyone has experience communicating online.
- When someone makes a mistake with spelling, asking a “stupid” question or responding unnecessarily long, it is best to be kind about it.
- If you decide to inform someone of their mistake, be polite and preferably by private email rather than in the public forum.
- Remember to give people the benefit of the doubt.