14Jun, 2017

The Ultimate Guide to Netiquette or “Network Etiquette”

public relations, The Ultimate Guide to Netiquette or “Network Etiquette”-Public Relations Portal and Communications Business News Indonesia

By: Ayu Meganingrum – Business Group Director of Fortune PR

Still familiar with Gadjah Mada Univesity’s ex-student Florence who posted comments online that sparked anger among Yogyakarta residents? Or the latest viral hashtag on Twitter calling to boycott Indosat Ooredoo triggered by an employee controversial Facebook post? Both got bullied by netizen, damaging their own personal and corporate reputation. Here is why it’s important to know and follow the netiquette.

The web 2.0 refers to the extraordinary development of the next-generation internet applications such as the canals of diverse social media today. This contrasts with the previous generation of internet applications. Today, users can create their own content easily. Users can write their own opinions about anything online.

The existence of these web 2.0 has changed the role of many internet users from consumers of information to become information producers. The term prosumer (producer and consumer) is used to describe this development. Therefore users now have a simple way not only to seek and receive information, but also to actively share information. Learning about netiquette is very important in today’s digital age. This is beneficial for yourself as a person, or to add to a company’s online communication policy. In fact, teaching knowledge about netiquette should start at the very young age, since our kids today are digital natives.

Netiquette or network etiquette derives from the concept of etiquette. American scholar Virginia Shea who first come up with netiquette[1], define the word etiquette as the forms required by good breeding or prescribed by authority to be required in social or official life. This word comes from the French word for “ticket”, meaning if you know the etiquette for a particular group or society, you have a ticket to be part of it.

From there, netiquette evolved to be a guideline on how to behave on the internet. There are ten core rules of netiquette that every netizen needs to know[2]:

Rule 1: Remember the human. This means realizing that the person reading your post is a person with feelings. They might be happy but can also get hurt. So you should not post anything you wouldn’t say to your reader’s face.

Rule 2:  Be constructive. If you are supportive and provide others with constructive feedback and comments, they will be more likely to post and reply to your posts in a similar manner. You must follow the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life and always be ethical.

Rule 3: Diversity and inclusion. Know where you are in cyberspace. Pay attention to the context of the conversation and the cultural difference of your audience. Be sensitive to the diversity of your fellow participants. Ensure your comments are inclusive to all participants.

Rule 4: Read before you post. Before you click the “post” button review your post to ensure that it’s accurately conveys your intention. This includes knowing what you’re talking about and to be always checking your grammar and spelling before you post. Do not use harsh words or convey false information.

Rule 5: Make yourself look good online. Post messages that are appropriate and polite

Rule 6: Share expert knowledge. It is always good to help other people. Sharing your experiences, knowledge, and ideas is the major strength for online discussion.

Rule 7: Help keeps flame and conflicts that occurred online under control. You can provide credible facts or simply apologize if you made a mistake.

Rule 8: Respect other people’s privacy.

Rule 9: Don’t abuse your power. It is important to use your power for good.

Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people’s mistakes and accept the views of others.

Until a crisis strikes, netizens sometimes are not aware that online communication is non face to face and can cause a lot of miscommunication. Learning and applying netiquette can make you come across as professional when communicating online.

[1] Shea, Virginia. (1994). Netiquette. San Francisco: Albion Books.


[2] http://uncw.edu/oel/documents/pdfs/netiquette.pdf

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