Netiquette

Netiquette is a catch-all term that is often used to describe the conventions of politeness and etiquette for electronic communications. "Netiquette" is comprised of two parts; 1) The "net" of the world-wide-web 2) etiquette. The concept has existed for many years and technological generations, yet remains as relevant today as ever before especially with regards to communications.

Examples of electronic communications netiquette

Below are some examples of common online and electronic communications netiquette.

  • Don't do anything that you would not like done to you.  For example, do not send an email from another party without their permission.
  • Use informative and understandable subject lines with your messages.
  • Send messages to and reply to only those who need to receive the messages.
  • Use starts to emphasize a word or phrase, such as *this will be on your exam.*
  • Don't use ALL CAPITAL LETTERS.  This may come across as SHOUTING.
  • Equally, restrain from using excessive amounts of bold lettering or other text accentuation in your messages.  Bold, highlights, underlines, italics, colors, etc. are great ways to make text stand out and command attention, but overuse will result in diminished effectiveness.
  • Be careful of what you include in your messages.  Sometimes emails are delivered to the wrong party.  One should be hesitant to email content requiring extreme privacy or security.  For example, emailing credit card details or personal information may risk exposure of information to unintended viewers.
  • Messages often get distorted or completely lost in translation.  Be sure to review each message before sending.  Double-check your tone, verbiage, and humor.  Remember, other readers may well interpret the message differently than you intended.
  • Try to be sensitive and conscious not to provoke an unwanted response.  Many people use "emoticons" to convey the missing body language signals.  "emoticons"
  • Communicate well.  The principle is as (if not more) valued in the virtual world as it is in the real world.  Use a spell checker on your messages before sending or posting them.  Review your messages closely for proper spelling, grammar, punctuation.  Get to the the point!  Keep your messages short and tactful when possible.  Try to avoid rambling, slang, and jargon in your messages.  Stay on topic.
  • Email and most other forms of online communication are not 100% private.  Assume that any message can find itself in unexpected places and delivered to unintended peoples. 

Certainly, many more exist and vary based on the users and nature of the messages being communicated. Additional resources (links) are also provided to offer more background and examples.

Additional articles and resources