Pop language calls these rules netiquette. a mashup of network and etiquette. According to Wikipedia, netiquette is the conduct that is socially acceptable in an online or digital situation.
Most of my daily interactions occur online with friends, work and school. With all this time online, I see miscommunications, misunderstandings and polite gestures dismissed. I often think to myself, where did the etiquette go?
Netiquette is the proper way to communicate online, and an important aspect for online business. The rules are simple. If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, then don’t write it online. There are also rules about writing, grammar and style to make your communication clear and easy to understand. Slang and abbreviations may be easy to type, but they’re a pain when trying to decipher what someone is saying. Since we don’t have the benefit of in-person clues like facial and body language, it is very important to be clear and concise.
Here are my 6 Easy Rules of Engagement for Online.
- Be courteous and respectful. Remember that there is a person tied to the computer screen where your message will display and that person has feelings. And remember that your message is potentially going to be seen widely across the web. Don’t write anything that you wouldn’t want to be public.
- Respond to important emails as soon as you can. If you are away from your computer and receive the message on your phone, flag it to respond as soon as you are back to work or school.
- Respect other people’s time. If you are in a group discussion, make sure what you are posting is worth reading. If you share a link, summarize what you read so that people will know whether they are interested or not. What is valuable to you is not valuable to everyone.
- Remember that everyone has different priorities. So when you send that important email and it isn’t responded to as quickly as you would prefer, keep in mind that we each have our own values and priorities. Live your passions and priorities, while allowing others to do the same.
- Make your message as short, clear and precise as you can. Remember that the person reading your email doesn’t have the benefit of seeing your body language or asking a direct question to clarify. Your words are the message.
- Check your spelling and grammar. Even the best writers can make mistakes. It is important to have your work checked by a different set of eyes. This will ensure your best work.
In any business, it is important to follow the rules of engagement online and in person. These tips are simple ways to make sure that your information is clearly communicated, respect is given, and the overall experience you have online is enjoyable.