What is Netiquette?

Netiquette is online etiquette, or a set of behavior standards for online settings. Netiquette helps to create a safe online environment for all online users. When thinking about the purpose of netiquette, it helps to remember that every time you post, you add to your digital footprint. Have you ever Googled yourself? What comes up? If you do not utilize netiquette rules, people could find negative things about you without ever having met you.

Learner Objective: To introduce secondary-age students to the basic rules of netiquette, online behavior standards

N - Are your words necessary?

Do your readers need to read what you are posting? Before you click send, ask yourself whether or not your comments are necessary. Will they benefit those that read them? How would you feel if you received them as a comment, reply, or e-mail? If you answer negatively, revise your comments to be more helpful.

E - Are your words an example of your character?

Are your comments exemplary of your character? Would you want your grandmother to read it? Everything posted to the internet is there permanently, so remember to be kind, concise, and appropriate each time your click “post.”

T - Is your tone appropriate?

Choosing the right tone is important in all written word but especially so in online communication. Online readers only see your words, so choose a tone that correctly and kindly expresses your purpose. No matter your purpose though, it is always best to avoid sarcasm.

I - Are your images used properly?

It is very easy to misuse copyrighted information on the information, especially images. The best practice is to always assume images are copyrighted (and therefore, off-limits) unless you are certain they are not. Use images in the public domain or with creative commons (CC) license to avoid all copyright issues.

Q - Are you qualified to answer that question?

The Internet is an amazing source of knowledge. Despite its incredible amount of information, not all of that information is accurate. Do not contribute to a discussion, information page, etc. if you are not a knowledgeable on the subject.

U - Are your words easy to understand?

Your words should be clear and concise only. Avoid rambling or unnecessary words that detract from your main point. Concise language not only makes it easier for readers to understand you, it makes you appear to be a competent source of knowledge.

E - Are your words edited?

Proofreading is very important in all communication but especially so in online communication. Some forms of communication are harder than others to correct after you click “send” or “post,” so always proofread/edit your message. Use correct spelling and grammar in all your communications to properly express yourself.

T - Are your words thoughtful?

It is very easy to post a comment online without taking the time to think before you post. Your words online should always be thoughtful because your reader only sees those words. They do not see your intentions and do not know your personality. Think before you post! Remember the point of netiquette is to create a safe environment for all users.

T - Are your words true?

It is an easy question, right? It should be. Simply put, you are responsible for what goes online with your name on it, so make it truthful. Make it honest. Make it an excellent example of who you are and what you have to offer.

E - Are your emotions in check?

Sometimes things on the Internet will make you mad because others are not utilizing netiquette rules. Rise above! Check your emotions before you post. No matter whether it is e-mail, social media, or a comment thread, you should never let your emotions control your words. Remember the human behind the computer!

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