Basic Internet Etiquette

The Online Corner: Basic Internet Etiquette


Basic Internet Etiquette (aka Netiquette)

August 2019 – Sarah Clarke to be published in the August Snapd Dufferin/Caledon

Basic Internet Etiquette

What does the term “netiquette” mean?

Netiquette refers to Internet etiquette. This simply means the use of good manners in online communication such as text, e-mail, and social media.  It is important to use netiquette because communication online is non-verbal. In a verbal conversation it is easier to be courteous and to get your tone across.  In a written communication tone can be either lost or misread.  

There is a great saying “what is posted on social media stays on the Internet forever”.  Have you ever posted something on social media that you regretted, or perhaps was taken the wrong way?  Have you ever sent an email or a text that blew up in your face? And so in my column this month I’m going to discuss some basic internet Etiquette that is applicable whether you are a student, teacher, business owner, or retired!  How you behave on the internet can affect not just how you are viewed, but can also affect your business, your family, your friends, and let’s not discount how possible it is to hurt another via online methods.

Basic Internet Etiquette Tip#1:  DON’T TYPE ALL IN CAPS

Regardless of the context of what you are sharing, it is standard understanding that when something is typed all in capital letters it is yelling, or aggressive in nature. Shouting in public is not polite, therefore typing anything all in capital letters is also not polite.  It might also be considered rude. So in any form of online communication it is best practice to avoid typing in capitals at all costs.

Basic Internet Etiquette Tip#2: Be Human

Remember that we are all human, the person typing and the person reading content on the Internet is a genuine human being with thoughts feelings and the potential to be hurt.  Adhere to the same standards online as you would in person. Never type or text anything to someone that you would not say to them face to face.  

Basic Internet Etiquette Tip#3: T.H.I.N.K.

Just as in real life it is a good rule to follow that before you press “POST” or “SEND” you make sure that what you are typing is 






Basic Internet Etiquette Tip#4:  Remember What you Post is Public

Regardless if you think you are sending something in a private message – consider that the actual message could be copied and pasted to a public forum.  It is a good rule of thumb to consider that anything you type or text could become public. Would you want your children to read that? Or your spouse or employer?  So again the suggested “netiquette” here is to keep all of your online communication clean and professional.

Basic Internet Etiquette Tip#5:  Do not post Copyrighted Material

If an image has a watermark on it or is from a source that is not known to be free stock source, it is best not to use it on your own website or social media.  If you are using articles or written online material, be sure to include the original source that you are sharing from.

I’m sure that you have come across online communication that was very upsetting.  If you do come across a post on Facebook, or an email that is verbally abusive or rude, the best thing that you can do is to not respond in kind.  Keep your side of the internet communication clean. Follow these basic internet rules for etiquette and remember first and foremost to remain human, even online.

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1 Comment

  1. This is by far the best post I’ve read and it definitely needed to be said. I feel the internet is flooded with negativity and some users should learn “netiquette” before being released into the world wide web. Also, #5 has been a tremendous problem that I am a huge advocate of. I see a lot of copied images that are not credited and it’s extremely frustrating. Thank you for sharing these great internet etiquette tips.

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