What Is Netiquette And Why Is It Important?
The internet plays a huge part in our daily activities, allowing us to communicate, share information with others and even…
October 28, 2021 | 7 mins read
The internet plays a huge part in our daily activities, allowing us to communicate, share information with others and even run businesses. With so much of our lives dependent on the internet, it is important for us to understand how our online behavior can impact us and others.
By nature, verbal communication is impermanent. Written communication, on the other hand, is more permanent. The internet retains everything we write. The online mode of communication adds abstraction between participants. Because we don’t always see the person on the other side of the screen, it can be easy to ignore the social etiquette that we would follow otherwise in face-to-face communication.
Netiquette (short for net etiquette or internet etiquette) are the ideal manners and behavior expected of internet users. Netiquette is a set of professionally and socially accepted rules to be practiced when using any online medium. Netiquette focuses on the acceptable use of online resources in a social environment. The definition of netiquette implies, among other things, that users must follow copyright laws and other prevailing regulations.
The primary reason for the existence of netiquette is to ensure smooth communication and avoid misunderstandings. Without a clear understanding of what is netiquette, people could come across as abusive or be party to cyber-bullying. Cultures vary across geographies and the web has erased physical distances between people. So, we must learn to be sensitive to the diverse people with whom we communicate online.
This blog will introduce you to the meaning and definition of netiquette, the importance of netiquette in today’s world and illustrate some examples of netiquette.
The definition of netiquette states that it’s a set of rules for courteous and respectful online behavior.
The rules of netiquette apply in both professional and personal contexts. By adhering to internet etiquette at work, you’ll establish and maintain healthy business relationships. On the personal front, be mindful of what you say and how you say it.
Oral or in-person communication has the benefit of body language, tone of voice and facial expressions that add to the communication between sender and recipient. Written communication is devoid of this luxury, often making the writer’s intent unclear.
This is the primary reason for the presence of online etiquette—to allow us to communicate well virtually. Most websites and social media platforms have defined the rules of online behavior that users must follow.
Such codes have been put in place to ensure people interact effectively and avoid conflicts. There can even be legal implications of not following net etiquette.
Now that you’ve understood the meaning of netiquette, here are some examples of netiquette or online etiquette:
Whether you’re replying to an email, participating on a discussion thread or commenting on a social media post, it’s good net etiquette to quote from the original message to give context to your reply
Look before you leap, read before you respond! Before you hit send on your rejoinder to an email or a post, confirm twice that your message conveys exactly what you intended. The smallest error or the wrong word could change the meaning of your message.
Never forget that though all you see is a digital screen, you’re interacting with a person with feelings and beliefs on the other side. It can be easy to say things online that you wouldn’t face to face. But rudeness is just as unacceptable
The internet was conceived to share information with others. It’s excellent online netiquette to share your knowledge and help those looking for assistance. The cyber world grows by many people sharing and leveraging their knowledge. Sharing only enriches your own knowledge further
We often see people using information and quotes from unknown sources. The internet has given us access to all kinds of information that we can share or use. However, make sure to properly attribute it to the correct author(s)
Be cautious of making sarcastic comments. The recipient has the disadvantage of not hearing your tone of voice or seeing your facial expressions. Sarcasm can be misunderstood and spoil relationships. You can use emoticons (sparingly) or prefix your reply with something like, “On a lighter note…” But, it’s always safe to be professional and straightforward
Don’t we all hate junk messages? The same applies to our friends and colleagues. Refraining from sharing irrelevant, unverified content and rumors is the way to go
An important piece of online etiquette is to avoid writing whole words or sentences in capital letters. This is considered rude and akin to someone yelling at you
Another piece of internet etiquette that’s often overlooked is a failure to identify ourselves as the author of a message. It’s polite to add your signature at the end of an email
Never forward personal emails and photos or share statuses without permission from all involved in the communication. Be extremely careful while sharing personal information about someone and never do so without their consent. Upholding others’ privacy is among the most important online etiquettes. Even if it’s a close friend, exercise caution online
Respond to emails or messages on social media platforms promptly. If you’re busy, acknowledge that you’ve received the message and let the sender know when you’ll revert. The simple act of responding on time is a valued part of net etiquette
Using false profiles is not good internet etiquette. Having no picture is only a little better than a false one. Do you wear a mask when meeting people in real life or turn away when talking to them? Online communication is the same. Remember that trolls and cyberbullies use false profiles, so be careful not to be mistaken for one
People like to connect with or follow those with original thoughts and opinions. Express yourself openly and honestly. Following net etiquette means you aren’t restricting your expression but being conscious about how you do it
It’s good online etiquette to allow people to express their views. Hold back from belittling opinions different from your own. You can disagree respectfully if you must, but it’s insensitive to disparage other people’s beliefs and thoughts even when they aren’t near you
Abusive behavior is the height of bad net etiquette. Some platforms can even ban you for this. Online platforms are tightening their legal frameworks against online bullying. Avoid sharing abusive content or posts that could incite violence
Online etiquettes must be followed strictly to avoid hatred and malpractices spread like wildfire.
The internet has added a new dimension to the way people connect with each other. This means that the societal values of the physical world now extend to the digital world. There’s no room for hate, bigotry or copyright infringement online.
An important example of netiquette is acknowledging the cultural differences of the people we meet online. The internet has broadened the definition of society, making it imperative that we accept the social values of those we interact with.
Being aware of and sticking to the laws governing the rights of netizens helps you grow and maintain healthy relationships. Remember that harassment, intimidation and bullying, whether online or offline, are criminal offenses.
Online etiquette assumes even greater importance for businesses, given that most companies and their customers are online. Building and maintaining a reputation online is crucial for all organizations.
The rules of netiquette apply to business too. Organizations should be consistent and transparent in their communication with stakeholders. Businesses tend to gather and leverage large volumes of customer data, including their personal information, so data privacy is an added responsibility for businesses that want to follow the rules of netiquette. Businesses must inform users about how they handle and secure their data. This will strengthen their trust in the organization and is mandatory under law in certain territories.
Understanding the meaning of netiquette is the first step toward becoming a responsible netizen. The online world is continuously evolving, as are the rules governing its use. So, it’s vital for users to stay updated.
The rules of internet etiquette will work only if they’re adopted by most online users, thereby becoming the norm of the community. The purpose of internet etiquette will be defeated if everyone doesn’t follow the rules. When you notice someone exhibiting good online etiquette, appreciate them and spread the word. Similarly, when someone exhibits objectionable online behavior, report them or try to talk to them about it.
The cyber-world will be a safe and healthy space only when all users understand the meaning and importance of netiquette. Always keep in mind that the people you are interacting with online are actual humans! Remember the golden rule: Treat others the way you wish to be treated.
Harappa’s Building Presence course will bring you up to speed with all you need to know about netiquette and acceptable online behavior. With our help, you can ensure that there are no missteps in the online world for you or your organization.