Thursday, May 24, 2012

Social Networks Netiquette

Have you just reposted what a contact or friend said to all his or her friends, which are practically the same ones you have? Do you realize most of those cascading messages are simply ignored precisely because of this?

Have you noticed the only people that reply to your postings are practically the same ones, those that seem to be on-line all day? There is a very important factor that contributes to that.
Netiquette (Etiquette on the Net) for Social Networks has practically the same text rules E-Mail Netiquette does, but there are other parameters to consider when it comes to the former. For example, did you know that what you post will be there forever? Yes, even those rude messages you didn’t really intend to publish are still there.

So to start, here are just a few of the most basic Social Networks Netiquette rules. And by the way, if you really feel the need to repost what has been done already, at least say why you think it is important to be there again.

The basics apply on every type of written communication: be it E-Mail, TXT messages, tweets, posts, etc. Use proper case, avoid abbreviations as much as possible, disregard “fashion” writing, write in just one language (unless of course the message is intended that way), apply correct grammar and syntax, use accents properly, avoid strange symbols if at all possible, and remember that emoticons help somehow but do not convey emotions.
Punctuation matters big time. What you are writing might make sense to you, but for some of us it is difficult to know what you are saying, or whether you are saying anything. Is it a question? Then write it as a question.

I recall one of my acquaintances wrote something very similar to this in a chat session: “the meeting went well, the other guy got the job I was supposed to be. There.” I had a hard time realizing I had missed an important meeting and could not understand why my friend was alright admitting that she did not get a position she wanted to have. It made me feel very bad that I was not there for her, but she seemed to be fine with the outcome. After a few lines back and forth, that I struggled to type apologizing for my fault, I realized that all was a misunderstanding. What she wanted to write was three questions: “The meeting went well? The other guy got the job? I was supposed to be there?”
Turns out such meeting hadn’t taken place, and a simple sentence made both of us go into gray areas explaining and apologizing for something that had not even happened.
Of course, the best way she could have written that would be something like this: “Did the meeting go well? Did the other guy get the job? Was I supposed to be there?”
So, please make it right.

BTW: Acronyms are not really needed in your text, are they? If so, and your audience knows them, by all means use them, but if not, a few mores seconds typing the full words won’t hurt you: and will help the reader lots. (BTW stands for: By The Way)
Remember that jokingly and irony messages do not go through as intended, there is no way to convey emotions in a text message, and some types of verbal communication have no similar in the written world. You cannot infuse tone to a written sentence, unless you are a professional writer and have more room to write; and even so the recipients might misinterpret it. So, be careful when doing those.

WRITING IN ALL CAPS IS LIKE SHOUTING. It creates a strong but often wrong message, so use uppercase-only sparingly. Can you stand someone that shouts all the time? It is also hard to understand what someone shouting wants to say. It is nicer to read lower and mixed case text, proper case or lack of it says lots about you.

Is your conversation private? Make it so then. It becomes awkward when two contacts post something that only involves or interests them. The rest of us do not have the need to know about it. Simply take your friend to private messages or chat and continue there. It would be nice to apologize to the rest about the slip too.

Double check your spelling, grammar and proper sentence structure before hitting “Send”, “Post” or “Tweet”. Remember that lack of those reflects low education and disregard for seriousness.
To close, thank those contacts that communicate appropriately: this is, if their posts are interesting, or help you in any way, say so. Do they make you think, smile, learn, or be positive? Those Netizens deserve recognition. Do not criticize those that always post the same empty messages and you always feel like deleting from your contacts but don’t do out of, um, pity (?)
But do thank and recognize the good ones, especially if they respond to your requests in a timely and appropriate way.

How you use technology affects your communication and presence. Start or res-start with these simple suggestions and your circles will be more enjoyable.

Any suggestions of your own? Do you relate to those specific friends discussed here? What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. This blog contains some good examples and reasons for your netiuqette rules. Good job!

    When I first started making speeches about netiquette I would begin by asking the audience questions the same way you asked your readers : )