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Netiquette: Internet etiquette

Info Guru, Catalogs.com

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Behave yourself online
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Netiquette, or internet etiquette, is a combination of network and etiquette

What is netiquette? Simply put, it is Internet etiquette. It means the correct or acceptable way of communicating when on the Internet. It is the public code of network communication. Effective internet communication uses common conventions and norms as a handbook for policy and values.

Netiquette is a combination of the words 'network' and 'etiquette' and applies to how humans use a computer and the Internet to interact with other people. Everyone spending time online needs to know these generally unwritten rules, so they don't unwittingly run amok and do something not considered acceptable.

Being oblivious to correct and polite ways of communicated and responding to others on the Internet can create issues in your social life and in your professional life. Netiquette applies to email and also to other forums where you communicate online, like social website (Facebook, Twitter, etc), instant messaging and chat forums.



Here are some tips on how to conduct your online interactions so that you minimize your risk of offending anyone else online:

  • When shopping online make sure you are on a secured and legitimate site. A lock in the browser shows the security certificate of the site has been recognizes and it is safe. Not every sites show a lock or prompts the user when he is about to enter a secure area so look at the URL to determine if the site is secure. If uncertain, do not venture any farther.
  • When using the Internet and sending messages via email or when posting a comment or other content online, check your messages to see if you have spelled the words correctly. Use spell check. However, spell check doesn't always recognize words when used out of context so even though you may have spelled the word correctly spell check may prompt you that it is wrong. Learn how to spell. Do not be dependent on spell check. Sloppy messages do not = netiquette.
  • Be truthful but don't be dumb. Engage in honest communication. In other words, don't purposely misinform others and do not presume anything. There are times when you do not want to divulge everything, such as your phone number of location. You can certainly choose to remain anonymous when participating on some sites but you should be honest when filling out forms when purchasing items online. 
  • Shouting is not respectful. Using all CAPS is equivalent to shouting. DO NOT DO THIS.
  • Avoid flaming. A flame results when a personal affront is transmitted through the 'net. Do not respond to flames. Someone who does this is considered a troll. He likes making trouble. People often engage in ornery and teasing banter among friends on Facebook and other social networking sites. This does not equal flaming, which occurs when it is a mean-spirited attach and generally comes from someone the user doesn't know.
  • Some advise not sending emails between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. which are considered sleep hours. Of course, some people work at night and consequently send emails at night. This does not mandate the person on the other end read it and respond to it during the night.
  • Spam is an automatically generated email sent to numerous email addresses. When you received unsolicited email this is spam. Do not open these emails. Do not click on pop-ups because this often leads to a virus and crashes a computer in no time flat. Malware and other viruses are used to steal information from your computers. Hackers are responsible for this. Be careful what you click on. Install anti-virus protection on your computer. Do not become a victim of scamming.
  • Do not do anything illegal online. Law enforcement does monitor the 'net.
  • Always respect the privacy of others. Do not read their emails.
  • Use PM or private messages rather than posting personal questions or remarks on a site where it can be read by everyone. Many users break this rule all the time on Facebook.
  • Be ethical. Do not purposely hurt another person's feelings by putting something hurtful online. Think about how your online actions and the things you post will make other people feel. We are all painfully aware of the ramifications of being excluded or talked about in an unkind or judgmental way. Some have been abused by cyber bullies to the point they commit suicide, which is tragic.

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