Mastering the Art of Netiquette
A lot of our interaction online is often “faceless”, which could create a sense of anonymity or “distance” when we communicate with others. Irrespective of this, online etiquette always applies. In fact, as we grow more dependent on the internet for work and play, it is essential to sharpen our network/internet etiquette (Netiquette) skills and kill off bad habits in the process.
Why Netiquette matters
In real life and in the virtual world, manners matter. Netiquette is nothing other than a polite, favourable online behavioural protocol. Companies are strict about the reputation they wish to build and uphold and therefore employees need to conduct themselves online accordingly. Practicing good Netiquette is invaluable on all digital platforms, on both a personal and a professional level.
An inappropriate comment, or disrespectful remark, could perhaps turn you into a social piranha when spoken face to face. However, over time and with the right apology at hand this could be forgiven and later forgotten. Online discrepancies aren’t that forgiving. Digital has the memory of an elephant on Ritalin. Do you really want to take the chance?
Here are Domains.co.za’s tips to mastering Netiquette in 2020:
Tip 1: Communicate online like you would in real life with real people
Respect, respect, respect. You wouldn’t address a client in slang or use random acronyms in a meeting, so refrain from doing so online. From sending emails, to posting comments on social media platforms, group chats, forums and websites or attending a video conference – be respectful of others. Rudeness not only reflects poorly on an individual but also on those he/she is affiliated with.
Tip 2: Look the part
Looking the part online is more than just how you present yourself in a written sense. Yes, don’t make spelling errors, typos or grammatical errors but also:
- Don’t plagiarise - only use original pieces of content or quote/credit the source properly.
- Do send business emails from your business email account, and vice versa.
- Refrain from using emoticons in business correspondence.
- Create a relevant subject line for your emails, so the recipient can easily identify the contents.
- Don’t send out unsolicited bulk emails (SPAM).
- Respect other’s time and data, by keeping emails brief and organised and don’t send large attachments. Use an online service (e.g. weTransfer.com) that supports the transfer of large files and advise the recipient of same.
- Refrain from using acronyms.
- Avoid using caps, this is considered to be ‘shouting’.
- Don’t engage with internet trolls (negative people out to provoke others online).
- Don’t email someone or post a comment while you are feeling over emotional (sad or angry). Rather gain distance from the situation and reply later.
With multiple meetings taking part online now too, make sure you adhere to Netiquette here as well by:
- Looking presentable and dressing neatly
- Ensuring your background is neat and tidy
- Wearing a headset with a microphone to ensure that background noises are less audible and that your voice is as clear as possible.
Tip 3: Keep information safe and updated
Companies need to ensure that all the information they host online i.e. contact details, product details, prices, promotions, terms and conditions etc. are all accurate and updated. Companies also have a commitment towards their customers to safely store and encrypt their personal information to prevent cyber security risks.
Domains.co.za is a South African domains and web hosting provider. We believe that small to medium sized businesses are the heart of the economy and our range of solutions and value-added products help these companies take their businesses online and assist with certain cyber safety challenges once live.