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What Is Netiquette and Why Is Netiquette Important?

I am a writer who loves researching and writing on many different topics, from health to tech and back again.


The internet is an integral part of our lives. It has become the popular medium of communication for most to undertake everything from buying and selling goods and services, banking, socialising and running a business.

It is not surprising then that the term netiquette was born. The basic rule is 'thinking before posting'. And the rule applies to all of us, particularly when we are running a business.

So what is netiquette?

What is netiquette?

Netiquette, or internet etiquette, refers to the 'informal rules' that we, as a society, should be adhering to when interacting online.

These manners and 'shared rules' can cover everything from the tone that we write, to the tact of our responses.

It also covers the little things that make first impressions count.

If you are search a social network for a business, chances are you will not see a photograph of his or her children or the family pet. You will find their real name, a professional image that represents themselves and helpful content that they have either written themselves, or shared from other worthwhile sources.

Netiquette is a set of 'informal rules' that really should be considered at all times. Let's take a look at some of these rules.

Netiquette - Online Reputation

Netiquette rules

  • Fill out your online profile with your real information and photos - some sites, like Facebook, will actually close your page and account down if you use fake details.
  • Ensure your username (if visible to connections) represents your business - set up a vanity URL where the option arises.
  • Be tactful. Whether you like it or not, future employers are now moving to use social media as a mechanism to research those that they are looking to hire - your online actions, behaviour and photos could make or break you.
  • Friend and follow only people or businesses that you respect - It may reflect bad on you otherwise.
  • Take extra care when dealing with emails - personal, confidential or legal matters sent through email are risky; emails can be forwarded on to anyone.
  • Watch your language used - Capitals and acronyms may not be appropriate nor understood by all - capitals can be considered rude as if you are shouting.

Business and Social Etiquette

Whilst there is a time and a place (more often than not, it is on Facebook) for you to stand on your soapbox and complain, or share with others your thoughts and feelings, social media users repeatedly report that useless information, constant complaining, bad-mouthing others and irrelevant content are their top reasons for 'unliking' a page or removing themselves from someone's group or circle.

Whilst there is nothing in concrete, it is important to bear in mind that the internet involves millions of people and everyone is different. So before you reply to an email that has upset you, take a break and walk away. Before you spontaneously comment on a LinkedIn post that goes against your beliefs consider who's looking. And before you share a photo online, ensure you are aware of your privacy settings.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2014 AnswerQuestions

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