For many of us, it is hard to imagine our daily lives without the internet. It has become an essential tool for businesses, communication, entertainment, education and more. Many tasks have become easier thanks to the flexibility and speed that the internet offers, and it even helps us to meet new people from distant places. The use of internet has increased over the last decade and people of all ages and occupations are relying on this technology for work, for fun or to stay in touch with their friends and family. Whether you are looking for information for school, playing online games, shopping or sending emails to customers, it is likely that you are using internet on a daily basis.
Many conversations take place around the world every second, but many people forget that although the use of language on the internet tends to be less formal, there are still some basic good manners that should be observed. This is particularly important to consider, given that unlike face to face communication, we can’t use our gestures to communicate and misunderstandings may arise. Without even realizing, we may upset people while having a chat on the internet. Keeping in mind some internet etiquette rules can help us to avoid miscommunication issues when we send an email or chat to someone we don’t know that well. Here are the most important things to keep in mind.
Keep emails and chats short and sweet
People have busy schedules so make sure that you go to the point. Even if you send a message to your friends inviting them for dinner, a simple, short approach is the best way to go. You can catch up with all the gossip when you talk on the phone or when you see each other, but when possible, avoid long messages. The same goes for business emails of course. No one wants to waste time so instead of going around in circles, just cut the chase (keep it polite in any case) and say what you need to say.
Practice common sense
It seems simple and many people take it for granted, but the truth is that not everyone uses common sense. Although most people are familiar with words that are guaranteed to offend and that should not be used under any circumstance, some people are still letting something slip. In general, any word that is generally considered as rude, disrespectful or intolerant should be avoided, particularly when you are dealing with people that you barely know or with strangers. Jokes that may cross the line should be only shared with friends and people you trust. Keep the limits in mind when chatting to someone or sending an email.
Remember that there is a person on the other side
Sometimes it is easy to forget that while you are using your computer or mobile device to chat, there is a human being on the other side. When chatting to someone, remember that they should be treated with the same respect that you want from them. Be polite and talk to people as you would if they were in front of you. This is a rule that is particularly important when you are chatting with someone in a customer service department, or when you are the one who is dealing with a customer, but it applies to any case. Even if that person is far away, that doesn’t mean that you can treat them unfairly or say things that could upset them, just because you feel like doing it.
Whenever appropriate, include emoticons in the conversation. They are a great way to keep online chats and emails human. They can also make messages more personal as they help you to express feelings. With the right emoticon, you can appear more approachable and even make someone else smile when they read your message.
Understand CAPITAL letters
New internet users often make the mistake of typing with their Caps Lock key on. In every case, make sure that you keep them turn off and only use them when you gnat to emphasize something in particular. If you are always using them, it appears as if you are shouting, which is probably something that you don’t want to do.
Get familiar with the internet culture
Regardless of your location and background, when you connect to the internet you become part of the online world and need to keep in mind that the internet has its own culture. Just be humble and accept that everyone can make mistakes. Be understanding with others and apologize if you were the one who is in the wrong. Enjoy the internet and just keep in mind the simple rules to make it a more enjoyable, hassle free place.
Take privacy seriously
Over the last few years, the threats to privacy have become evident and many people are concerned about who can see their information when they are connected to the internet. However, it is not only online spies or hackers who we should worry about. Doxing is a practice that has become common and it is often used when people have disagreements on the internet. It consists in researching and sharing personal identifiable information about someone. Many people use this technique to get even or to “punish” someone who they don’t like or who has done something that they consider to be bad. I am sure that you would never want someone to do this to you, so why would you do it to them? Regardless of how angry you are, the simple rule is to avoid leaking other people’s address, phone and other personal information. Of course, the same goes about your own data. Don’t post your personal information online.