Digital etiquette is a set of rules and best practices that encourage effective and appropriate interactions when online. Picture: Pexels
Cape Town - Despite corporate and personal warnings, tweeters and posters are constantly getting themselves into trouble with inappropriate online activities. Many South African corporations have rules and guidelines for the use of social media for their staff members, especially when their brands are at risk.

Internet etiquette, or netiquette, is a set of rules and best practices that encourage effective and appropriate interactions when online. Treating others with respect, online and in person, is obvious but digital online platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Linked In and Facebook also have their own rules and customs.

Online microlearning platform Grovo has some tips to help you with netiquette and their bite-sized on-demand videos make learning quick and easy. IOL has teamed up with Eiffel Corp, the accredited reseller for Grovo in Africa, to give you a chance to win 3 months access to the platform's wide range 2000+ lessons at the touch of a button. See details below.

“Social media blunders have cost employees their jobs, left brands panel-beaten and torn apart close relationships,” says Clare Reilly, Marketing and Sales Manager at Eiffel Corp.

Before publishing a post that could leave you red-faced, Reilly advises, consider the following:

The context
Each medium, including email and instant messaging and video chat has a specific set of etiquette rules to be aware of. Rules might be stated, or they might be implicit, such as age usage of a platform.

The audience
Communicating with a prospective client requires a more formal tone than arranging the weekend activities with former student friends. Similarly when communicating with a superior or older person. 

“Whenever you share something online, you’re asking for your audience’s time and it’s polite to give your respondent 24 hours to respond before following up. If you require a response urgently, accompany your message with a DM or phone call,” said Reilly.

Respect
Reilly urged digital communicators to respect their audience’s attention by keeping messages focused, concise, relevant, consistent and polite. 

Maintaining platform consistency is also important. Keep all replies and correspondence on the same platform, which keeps the thread together for easy reference.

Whether intentional or not, over-sharing can reveal sensitive information that should be kept private. These risks also apply to public channels of discussion, such as timeline posts and comments on social media. Some information should never be shared online such as phone numbers, home addresses, passwords and financial information. This is dangerous and disrespectful, often violates the platform’s policies and can be removed or legal action taken. 

Online comment sections are notorious for being contentious and sometimes unpleasant. Even forwarding an email can reveal private information.

Studies show that online commenters abandon etiquette because they feel protected by anonymity. Proper etiquette is essential to foster productive online discussions. Give others the benefit of the doubt and assume a positive intent.

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What is netiquette

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