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Sep 6, 2013

Do you like to be seen as rude, lazy or uneducated? Failing to follow some basic rules of web etiquette - netiquette - results in just that. Without the benefit of seeing you face to face (F2F), the type of human being that you are or are not, your intelligence, your professionalism and even your ethics will be judged by how you communicate with others online.

Email Netiquette

Become a good Netizen and follow these online basics in your online communications.

  1. You are what you write. How and what you write provides clues to the kind of person you are. Learn to write clearly and accurately.
  2. Assume that email is not secure. Never put in an email message anything you would not put on a postcard.
  3. Use descriptive, key words in the subject heading. This allows the recipients to scan and prioritize a long list to which they must respond.
  4. Do not type in all caps. This is considered yelling or screaming online. Used mixed case instead.
  5. Respect the privacy of e-mail addresses. Always know to whom you are sending an email. If you wish to send to a group, learn to use the BCC feature of your email program: the receiver gets a copy of the e-mail but their email address remains invisible to the other recipients. If a message becomes a 2-way conversation, make sure you don’t include other people.
  6. Be wise when forwarding private e-mails. All private email is considered to be copyrighted by the original author. Ask permission before forwarding/posting any private emails!
  7. Know how large a message you are sending. Be brief and clear in your message. If you are sending attachment, minimize, compress or "zip" large files before sending. Be wise and don’t clutter another person’s mailbox will unnecessary messages.
  8. Take the time to review your email before clicking send. Spell check your email, proofread for errors, capitalize your sentences and use appropriate punctuation and grammar. This is especially important in educational e-learning, business environments, or other online contacts where proper formatting is crucial to building your relationship and credibility.
  9. Create a signature file. This is a line or two at the end of your message with contact information so people know who you are. Create it ahead of time so that it is automatically appended to all your e-mails.
  10. Respond promptly to emails. Like phone calls or voicemails, provide quick feedback to your emails. If you want a quick response, remember that people live in different time zones and factor that in accordingly.
  11. You are what you write. How you communicate will give a perception as to the kind of person you are. Learn to write with clarity.
  12. Nasty e-mails rarely deserve a response. Ignore and delete them. It's the best snub.
  13. Do not forward jokes and chain letter e-mails. If you must, ask first.
  14. Get to know online acronyms. Popular ones include BTW, “by the way,” IMO, “in my opinion,” WTG, “way to go,” FYI, “for your information.” Keep in mind that acronyms may not be suitable for all emails.
  15. Sending email in plain text is best. Email is a quick and straightforward form a communications. Adding unnecessary colour and/or graphic images may make your posting difficult to read since not all email software has the ability.
  16. Be careful with humor and sarcasm. Written comments can often be misinterpreted. Emoticons (i.e., smiley faces or other symbols alongside your text) often help the recipient ‘interpret’ your intentions. Be safe and limit your use in professional environment

Chat Netiquette

Use "Emoticons." Also referred to as smileys, these are characters or symbols which are used are used in conjunction with text to overlay emotion in a written message, to clarify the meaning. Here are just a few examples of some popular smileys (it helps if you read them sideways):

:-) smile:-I hmmm(:-) smiley big-face;-) wink
:-( sad[:-) listening to iPod:-& tongue-tied:-@ screaming
:-D big smile:-} wry or fiendish grin:-0 big mouth:-] sarcasm

Always say goodbye. When you are leaving a chat room or finished the conversation, let the other person know rather than leaving them hanging.
Don’t correct typing errors. Unlike emails, the purpose of chat is to carry on a ‘live’ conversation. Punctuation and typos are accepted, as long as your meaning is clear.

Do you agree, disagree or have your own to add? Leave a comment below.