Social media is here to stay. With so many sole proprietors, private and government businesses now integrating social media into their Web sites and customer service, attention to ‘Netiquette’ is fast becoming important for all internet users.

The term ‘Netiquette’ is short for ‘network etiquette’ or ‘internet etiquette’. It is a set of commonly agreed upon social conventions that facilitate interaction over the World Wide Web. This interaction ranges from social networks, blogs, mailing lists, and forums.

The use of ‘Netiquette’ predates the start of the World Wide Web going back to at least 1983, first referred to with the use of text-based e-mail from educational and research bodies who then dominated Internet traffic.

Listed below are a few common rules of ‘Netiquette’ when using social media.

  • Do not spam by flooding the Internet with many copies of the same message, in an attempt to force the message on people who would not otherwise choose to receive it. It’s a waste of your time. People dislike it and they will ignore you.
  • Do not take the privacy of your posts for granted. Never post anything that you wouldn’t want to appear on the evening news.
  • Avoid the use of all caps. Our human subconscious mind thinks it is being yelled at when reading all caps - in any language. If your content is concise and interesting, it will get all the attention it needs.
  • Having good manners is not a license to correct everyone else. Take a deep breath and think about it. If you still wish to tell someone of a mistake, send them a private e-mail. Arrogance and self-righteousness are examples of poor Netiquette.
  • Ensure you know the guidelines and rules of the site you are visiting. Follow them. Do not argue with admins or owners. You will always lose. It's their site - follow the rules.

Common sense is the rule of thumb with netiquette as with all good manners. However, depending on the site you land on today, the guidelines and rules can change slightly or a lot from one to the other. Take the time to read each site's guidelines and rules carefully. Look through all the features on the site and discover how you can best use the features offered to benefit both you and the site. Not doing so can end up with a lot of wasted time and energy going down the wrong direction and ending with no benefit at all.

Strive to be cheerful, courteous and kind.


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