Digital Etiquette or “Net-iqeutte”

When using technology to communicate in any form you must follow a set of socially accepted rules or etiquette. Digital etiquette varies within applications. A rude act in one environment might be acceptable in another. When entering a new place lurk around a bit before participating to get a feel for the environment. Below is a summary of key points of etiquette and proper use of various applications and tools used online.


Remember that there are PEOPLE on the other “side” of the network. Treat people online as you would treat someone in person. Before sending a message, consider whether you would say what you have written to the person's face. The detached nature of email will sometimes cause people to say things they would never say in person, ask yourself, “Would I say this to someone’s face?”
If not…delete and rewrite.


#1. The person on the other end of a digital communication can't see your expression or hear your tone of voice. When you write an e-mail message, make sure the person you're sending it to will know whether you are happy, sad, angry, joking, etc. You can do this by using emoticons, such as : )

#2. However, overuse of emoticons can be obnoxious. Only use them when you feel
without tone of voice your message may be misunderstood.

#3. Use proper punctuation and grammar and avoid slang. Do not use IM-speak (instant-messaging language) unless you are in an im environment. Even though email is less formal than letters, people will form an opinion of you based on how you write. The net is a text rich environment, remember to use proper forms of communication.

#4. Adjust your tone and style to the situation.

#5. Do not write anything ANYWHERE you would not want your mother to read or to be read out loud in a court of law.

#6. Text typed in all uppercase letters is more difficult to read, and IS CONSIDERED SHOUTING.

#7. Speech that is inappropriate for class is not appropriate for use online. What you say and do online should be reflective of who you are. Students should know they are representatives of the school when they are online in class.

#8. Respect others' privacy and your own. Instant messages, away messages, and profiles can be copied and pasted. Don't give out personal information about someone else.

#9. Do your best to act within the laws of society and cyberspace

#10. Do not send anonymous messages or messages claiming to be have been written by someone else. All communication should be clearly identifiable as to who created it.
#11. Respect the ideas of others and if you disagree please be constructive, not critical or rude.


#1. Before jumping in to join a discussion board, listserv, or other public chat area watch and pay attention to what is being said and the style. This will allow you to get a feel for the members and the climate of the group. Watching in a public online space is called lurking and is usually acceptable and appreciated.

#2. Make a reasonable effort to search a Web site for the information you are looking for - “Frequently Asked Questions” or “About Us” sections may give you the answers you seek before you waste the site owner’s time by emailing for information that is readily available on their site.

#3. If downloading a file is going to give you enough time watch an entire football game, forget it. Don’t hog the bandwidth.

#4. Don’t give out so much information about yourself that a stranger can recreate your day. Your words and links can make it easy for others to track you. Use privacy settings whenever possible but remember that even privacy settings have "holes."

#5. Having a copy of something doesn't mean you have the right to copy or distribute it.

#6. Online technologies are often not the best way to communicate sensitive or personal information. Face-to-face communications, handwritten notes or letters, and the phone (call and/or voice mail) are as good and often better for certain information.

#7. Respect others privacy…never read another person’s e-mail or access an account in their name without direct permission.


#1. Don’t check your phone when you’re in a social or professional situation. This includes texting.

#2. When in company, don’t allow your phone to ring, set it to vibrate.

#3. Professionally, use a signature including name, position, e-mail, place of work, address, and phone number. Nothing is ever really private on the Internet so don't include your home address and phone number in your signature file.

#4. Use headphones in public spaces. Do not use headphones in social situations.

#5. Don’t multi-task when interacting with another person. Don’t instant message or text when people are expecting your company.

#6. Don't talk on your phone in public spaces, if you receive an urgent call find a quiet spot where you will not bother others.


#1. Don’t post photos of your friends that they wouldn’t post. Always ask before you do.

#2. Don’t tag your friends’ photos without permission.

#3. In general, someone should be your friend before they’re your “friend”.

#4. Choose your “friends” carefully.

#5. Never give out personal information.

#6. Even though you may be in a "private" space nothing is really private, before you post something decide whether you would say or show the information to your grandmother in church : )


#1. Be mindful of the e-mail address you use, "hotchick69" may not be the best address to post on your resume

#2. Think of an email message as a postcard being sent through the U.S. Postal Service. Also remember that messages can be saved or forwarded by its recipient. It is unwise to send very personal or sensitive information through email. E-mail is never really private and a copy may exist in cyberspace forever. You have no control over where it goes.

#3. Even though you might delete messages there is probably someone backing up the server where your messages are stored

#4. Use a clear, descriptive, and understandable phrase in the subject line. This will help the recipient file your message in their in-box and find it later if necessary.

#5. In the subject line avoid using all caps or all small case, do not use terms such as Hi, Help, Please Respond, or the recipient’s name as this may cause your message to be misidentified as spam and your email may be deleted.

#6. Don’t send messages on fancy stationary, graphic laden pages, or using a large background graphic that take forever to download . Just send your email in plain text! Refrain from using colored text in day-today communication. Special effects will not make your message more understandable. It might actually make it more difficult to understand.

#7. Minimize a photo/graphic’s size to no larger than 600 pixels in width before e-mailing. Most photos from your camera are 1,000 pixels or more, which makes for a huge file size. You could also post them to a private and free photo sharing space and send link information to those you want to share the photos with to avoid sending them at all.

#8. Do not send any large files that take a long time to download this may jam an inbox and waste a lot of a person’s time.

#9. Before you copy people on your messages, ask yourself whether they really need to know. If the answer is no, don't waste their time. If the answer is maybe, think twice before you hit the send key. Don't send large amounts of unsolicited information to people.

#10. If you receive a threaded message that you feel you must forward to someone new then delete the e-mail addresses of the others listed within the forwarded text. Forwarded e-mails with hundreds of addresses in the email headers violate each recipient’s right to privacy.

#11. On those rare occasions where it is necessary to send a group of people the very same email, as a courtesy to those you are sending to, please list all of the recipients email addresses in the BCC field. (Blind Carbon Copy ) Never expose your contact’s addresses to strangers.

#12. Don't forward private messages to people they weren't intended for or copy others on replies to personal messages.

#13. Never send forwards, chains, or the latest, “send this e-mail to 10 people and you will receive $40,000,000”.

#14. Before you forward an email that appears to be helpful with a story that instructs you to “read and share” with everyone you know, first check to see if the story is even legit in the first place and not a hoax. If you are not sure…delete.

#15. Do not forward virus warnings, especially if an email tells you to forward them. Delete those emails immediately, most are hoaxes if not actually virus files themselves. Definitely ignore those forwarded emails instructing you to delete files on your computer- they could be critical files that your computer needs to operate.

#16. Only warn friends if you know that your computer has a virus that you may have passed on to them.

#17. Don’t respond to spam, even to request removal from a list (unless you are sure of the source). It only verifies that the spammer has reached a legitimate address.

#18. If you post your email address to Web pages, especially ones asking you to enter online contests or other drawing-like events, you are asking for spam.

#19. Be careful when you reply to messages or postings sent to large groups. Sometimes replies are sent back to the entire group.

#20. Do not use Return Receipt Request (RR) with reckless abandon. RRs should be reserved for those instances where it is critical to each side knowing the email was opened. Such instances would include legal and important business issues.

#21. All private email is considered to be copyrighted by the original author. If you post private email to a public list or board, or forward it to an outside party in whole or in part, you must include the author’s permission to post the material publicly.

#22.Never just forward email without a comment as to why you are forwarding the email to the recipient. Do you expect a comment, clarification, is it just FYI?

#23. Always end your emails with "Thank you," "Sincerely," "Take it easy," "Best regards" or some other closing.


#1. Reread your post to make sure what you're saying is clear.

#2. Keep posts short and concise.

#3. Keep posts on topic.

#4. Don’t make fun of someone else's thoughts or opinions

#5. Avoid "crashing" discussion groups or forums.


#1. Listservs function as a way to share specific information. Stay on topic when you are on a listserv. If you have an unrelated question either find an appropriate listserv to post the question on or e-mail a friend off list.

#2. If you receive an offensive email via a mailing list ignore it.

#3. Never thank someone “on list” on a listserv, this only clogs up everyone on the lists inboxes. If you want to thank someone use their e-mail address and send to their private inbox only.

#4. Do not post a message just to agree or restate on a listserv, again it clogs up people’s e-mail. The purpose of a listserv is to share information…it only needs to be said once.

#5. Please include a subject line in all emails to the listserv. If you change the subject of a thread, please be sure to change the subject line to reflect the new subject

#6. Pay careful attention to where your reply is going; if a personal message ends up on a mailing list or listserv, it may be embarrassing for you and annoying for the other list members.

#1. Students using blogs are expected to treat blog spaces as classroom spaces.

#2. Not everything that happens to you is blog worthy!


#1. Flaming is what people do when they express a strongly held opinion without filtering their responses. Sometimes it is rude, socially unacceptable, or just mean.

#2. Do not respond to flaming. Watch out for people in places who are trolling. Theses people make purposely mean, rude, angry, or untrue statements in the hope of starting a flame war. A flame war occurs when people are hateful and contrary online. Sometimes this can be done by sending so many messages that a mailbox gets jammed, and sometimes this is done by sending a few very nasty messages.

#3. Starting a flame war is serious business on the internet. Digital etiquette forbids the perpetuation of flame wars. Ignore the message, or send a polite message asking for them to explain what they meant. It may have been a misunderstanding.