Digital etiquette, or netiquette as it is referred to, is a basic set of rules pertaining to behaviour that needs to be followed to ensure the Internet is better for all users. It basically means “the use of good manners in online communication such as email, forums, blogs, and social networking sites.”
Netiquette is very important in the digital world. When we communicate face-to-face, it is important to note that 55% of the communication is made up of body language, 38% is the tone of voice, with the remaining 7% being the actual words. When communicating on a phone, we lose the body language component but the tone is still there to support the message.
However, communicating online, or in the written form, we lose 93% of communication. As a result, misunderstandings occur without these non-verbal cues. Informally we can use emoticons to aid the message, but formally it is a lot harder. Most formal communication occurs within a business context, so netiquette becomes vital in our communication as businesses rely heavily on building and maintaining relationships.
Netiquette is even more important when we consider the longevity and the reach of the communication. A lack of netiquette can cause substantial problems in the workplace and schooling. Although there has been a reduction in poor netiquette, it is still an issue that has ramifications beyond socially acceptable norms.
Business is about building relationships, which can take years to build. Creating a rapport is incredibly important in establishing trust, authenticity and credibility. Any disregard for online comment. It is the key for businesses to focus on the digital skills of their employees; moreover the focus should be on communication with a focus on digital communication.
As we know the socio-cultural environment has the deepest, and perhaps the most prevailing effect on social behaviour. Etiquette is societal norms. Therefore netiquette would be the rules society dictates we utilise when we are online. If we disregard all rules and values, our society will eventually fall into anarchy. It is interesting to note that our behaviour in the offline world differs from that of the online world.
People disclose or act out more frequently, at times more intensely, when they are offline. More so than when they are offline. Because of this loss of inhibition, users show tendencies, such as being more affectionate, more open and less guarded, in an attempt to achieve emotional wellbeing. There are different types of inappropriate behaviour online, for example Online bullying, inappropriate comments whether it’s racially or sexually orientated, uploading inappropriate material whether it’s adult related, illegal or anti-social , accessing inappropriate sites whether it’s anti-social, or illegal behaviour online or adult content, breaching copyright laws.
Here are a few examples of inappropriate behaviour online and the consequences of it. Playing games on electronic devices during class time or in a meeting, emailing or accessing the internet at inappropriate times, forgery/false representation kpretending to be someone else online), theft and harassment and also plagiarism/copyright infringement