Communicating with people over the internet comes with its own set of challenges. Since you are limited to text, it can be difficult to portray the intentions behind your words and avoid misinterpretation. While you can see a person’s expression when talking to them face-to-face, how can you do the same talking to someone through a screen?
Good communication skills are the difference between creating and breaking an online relationship. This article will discuss tips to help you polish your interaction skills so your messages are interpreted correctly every time.
What is Netiquette?
The term ‘Netiquette’ refers to generally accepted behavior when communicating online. Interestingly, your online conduct is even more critical than your in-person etiquette because it leaves behind a permanent trail. As online communication is non-verbal, you cannot show facial expressions or your tone of voice to support what you are typing. Therefore, the person at the receiving end has to rely on and judge the conversation on your actual words.
The rules of netiquette stress proper manners and polite behavior while being precise and courteous. They dictate that users should avoid cyber-bullying, obey copyright laws and refrain from overusing emoticons, among other generally accepted good practices.
Tips for Good Netiquette
Tip 1: Always be Polite
It’s easy to get carried away in a heated discussion on social media. You may have seen conversations blow out of proportion following a derogatory comment. One of the essential rules of good internet etiquette is always to be polite. Refrain from using words that may offend others and hurt their feelings.
If you generally get along well with others, your online presence should not be any different. Being respectful and considerate doesn’t cost anything but helps create an excellent online image.
- Be courteous and use positive words.
- Be kind and considerate, as you don’t know what the other person is going through.
- Stay quiet instead of joining in if a conversation turns nasty.
- Don’t bully others or be a part of a conversation that targets an individual or a specific group.
- Use ‘Please’ and ‘Thank You’ frequently but don’t overuse them.
Tip 2: Show Respect and Consideration
The internet is a hub where different people worldwide come together. You will encounter individuals from other ethnicities, backgrounds, nationalities, gender, preference, and ideology. It’s imperative to be open to dissimilarities and accept varied opinions.
While you may disagree with what someone says on social media, netiquette rules encourage you to listen and respond respectfully. Try to avoid social media traps.
- Don’t use language that might appear insensitive.
- Listen to what others say and respond positively without being pushy or disrespectful.
- Refrain from initiating conversations regarding religion, politics, gender, or topics that might not sit well with readers.
- Avoid name-calling, cursing, or using any verbal abuse.
Tip 3: Respect your Privacy and that of Other People
Whatever you post on social media or write on public forums, it would be wise to remember that your words will remain there indefinitely. Therefore, don’t share things about your life that might embarrass you at a later time. In the same way, sharing private details about others on the internet can damage them and you; hence, share only if you have permission.
Information on the internet is accessible to everyone all the time. So, be mindful of what you post, as it can easily affect your career and relationships in the future.
- Refrain from copying, pasting, and forwarding text. This includes sharing a screenshot of conversations.
- Avoid uploading pictures or videos of others to a public forum without running it past them first.
- Be conscious of what you share about yourself on the internet.
- Don’t write your or someone else’s address or contact number on a public platform.
- Avoid sharing other people’s work without their approval.
Tip 4: Check the Authenticity of Information before Posting
Even if it’s unintentional, spreading fake news is against the rules of good online etiquette. We live in a time when people depend on social platforms for the current news instead of other communication mediums. Therefore, one wrong piece of information can create a string of stories that aren’t true.
Similarly, when you are stating facts or giving opinions based on facts, it’s always wise to double-check its authenticity to ensure that you aren’t misleading others. Your words can have real-life consequences should someone take your wrong advice, so be cautious about what you say.
- Refrain from discussing topics you aren’t sure about, such as urban myths, legends, religious rituals, etc.
- Check the source of any information you want to repost to ensure it is true.
- If the source isn’t mentioned, turn to search engines like Google or Snopes.com to check its authenticity.
- Don’t believe something to be true because everyone is sharing it; do your research.
Tip 5: Don’t Isolate People
Have you experienced the feeling of being left out in a conversation? It is impolite to exclude people from discussions when they are around you, and the same rule applies to your online interactions. If you feel like sharing an inside joke with a friend, message them privately instead of giving hints in a group conversation.
- Write your message clearly without innuendos.
- Avoid making meet-up plans on social platforms; instead, message your friends privately.
- Don’t laugh at social media memes or texts when in the presence of others. Either share the laughter or postpone it.
- Ask for permission before adding someone to social media groups or large group texts.
Tip 6: Ignore Snide Comments by Trolls
Trolls are avid internet users who take pride in baiting others to get a reaction from them. They might be writing the truth or lying deliberately; either way, the intention behind their words is always to stir up negative feelings and responses.
It’s best to ignore trolls and not to take the bait. Instead, focus your energy on a positive conversation where your opinion can make a difference.
- Don’t reply to trolls and if you do, beat them with kindness.
- Use light-hearted humor to diffuse the tension in the conversation.
- Reply with facts instead of opinions.
- Agree with them sarcastically to end the argument.
Tip 7: Don’t Ignore Real People
Picture a group of friends sitting around a lunch table, each engrossed in their digital world. Sounds familiar? One of the most essential rules of good internet etiquette is to remember that connecting with real people who are physically around you is the most effective means of communication.
- Start a conversation with real people.
- Don’t check your messages, voicemails, emails, and social media handles repeatedly when sitting with someone.
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Here’s a golden rule of netiquette that aptly rounds up this article, “Do not do or say online what you would not do or say offline.” It is critical that you practice good manners when interacting with people over the internet because your online image and reputation reflect your real life.
The opinions expressed here by Guest Contributors are their own, not those of Rise Marketing.