The pandemic has brought about a new way of online living. Whether it is work, studies, buying groceries or banking—everything has shifted online. Therefore, it’s important to understand and follow these ten rules of netiquette in cyberspace.
What is netiquette?
Netiquette is a word for Internet etiquette. It comes from ‘network’ and ‘etiquette’. Netiquette sets the rules for maintaining a positive social environment online. These apply to individuals using the internet for personal reasons, for students who are nowadays taking online classes, and companies conducting business on the web.
Here are the basic rules of netiquettes that create a good online reputation for you, your business and your brand. Adhering to these rules will prevent your online and offline relationships from being damaged. Learning these ten rules of online etiquette is equally important for students.
The ten golden rules of netiquette
1. Be Careful What You Type
One of the core rules of netiquettes is thinking before typing. This includes getting people’s names right, not making negative remarks just because we can’t see the person reading them, and using correct emojis. Refrain from becoming too casual online. Depending on your audience, you should be mindful of your tone. So, before writing or using emojis, think twice. Moreover, proofread your emails and online content to avoid spelling and grammatical errors. This is probably the most important netiquette rule for students.
2. Conduct Yourself As You Would In The Real World
When chatting online, never ignore the other person’s messages or close the chat abruptly. It is one of the golden rules of netiquette. Now that most of us are working from home, following the core rules of netiquette is more crucial than ever. Prepare for your online discussions and look presentable. Working online means you aren’t being judged on your physical appearance, but that is not an excuse to look shabby in meetings. This is one of the most vital of the ten rules of netiquette.
3. Respect Others’ Privacy
Another important netiquette rule for online etiquette is valuing other people’s privacy. Receiving confidential information comes with responsibility. It can be very tempting and easy to forward an email or image, but you must never compromise your colleague’s or company’s privacy. Without permission, never make confidential information public in cyberspace. And only share information with people it concerns. This is a very important netiquette rule for students.
4. Avoid Plagiarism
One of the biggest perils of being in cyberspace is copyright infringement. This is a netiquette rule for students, professionals and all persons using the internet. Do not use another person’s words, images or information without permission and citing the source. Copy-pasting comes easy while working online, especially when you have access to so much information. Go one step further and credit the source.
Whether you’re teaching online or conducting workplace meetings, make sure you have proof of the facts you share. The internet is full of misleading information, and it is your responsibility to check whether what you’re sharing is factually correct. Sharing the sources of information is a good practice in this regard. In most cases, your audience will take your word, so you might be guilty of spreading wrong information. And if someone finds out your facts were wrong, you’ll lose face and credibility. So, this is another one of the ten rules of online etiquette.
6. Think Twice Before Posting Pictures
One of the basic rules of netiquettes says that you should avoid publishing or sharing unprofessional pictures with co-workers or your classmates. The same rule applies to those with access to the social media platforms of the company. Posting unprofessional or inappropriate pictures may show the company in a bad light.
7. Always Use Your Professional Email Address For Official Communication
If you are working from home, send work emails using your official email address. If you do not have an official email, use a personal email that sounds professional. You won’t be taken seriously if your email has credentials like ‘cutegirl’, ‘handsomehunk’, or ‘beer lover’. It leaves a bad impression of you before the email recipient. This is an important netiquette rule for professionals and also a netiquette rule for students looking for jobs and internships.
8. Use The Signature Block
Never forget to add a signature block at the end of official communication. The signature block must have details like the name of the company, contact details, designation and department. If you are not using these netiquette rules, it could become a major source of conflict and miscommunication in online conversations.
9. Use Humor When Appropriate
Humor, which depends a lot on facial expressions, often gets lost in official conversation. But you can use some wit and not come off as insulting. Use humor once you’re slightly familiar with your recipient and know they’d appreciate it. However, if you aren’t sure about this, it is best to maintain a professional and formal tone. This is a golden rule of netiquette.
10. Always Report Offensive Content And Illegal Activities
The cyberworld is fraught with offensive speech, bullying, harassment and theft. You might even come across illegal activities or practices such as piracy. Report such behavior immediately, whether it happens to you or someone else. If it is associated with the workplace, inform HR. This is a very crucial netiquette rule for students to follow.
Online interactions hold equal importance as face-to-face interactions. In the fast-paced online and work-from-home culture, it is a must to follow the above-mentioned ten rules of online etiquette. It will help you manage online relationships at the workplace. If you spend a lot of time on the internet, these golden rules of netiquette will make your experience safe and productive. Harappa offers a great Building Presence course that covers these Netiquette rules. Join now!