Rant: Online Etiquette Tips

OK folks, it’s that time again. Mr. Online Manners (you know, Jake) has a few helpful tips for engaging in the online interaction space.

Check Snopes.com before hitting send
Before you forward any email that contains some seemingly serious issue to your entire address book, do a quick search on Snopes. It’s a fantastic site that will help you separate fact from fiction regarding the content of that email that you’re about to send to your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, college professors, your PTA group, your colleagues from that job 4 years ago, and your high school reunion organizer.

Value a goodbye in IM
Just because you’re done chatting to your Instant Message contact doesn’t mean they are. Drop a quick brb (be right back) or ttyl (talk to you later) to let the other person know you’re done talking. If you’ve asked the other person to do something for you, give them a simple thanks before you run off.

Remember your offline manners
Smiles, nods, bows, and that cheesy guy finger-pointing-while-making-that-clicking-sound thing aren’t visible when you’re emailing or chatting on IM. If someone gives you a compliment or says something nice, don’t forget to give an overt word of appreciation.

Remember the interpretation
We read messages shared in text form based on whatever mindset we are in at the moment. Don’t forget that if I’m in a bad mood, or reading in a hurry I might interpret your sarcastic humor as plain rudeness. Try to remember this reality when you type messages. If a boss asks an employee for something via IM, for example, then doesn’t respond once the employee shares that thing, it’s hard for the employee to know whether the boss is busy acting on that thing or whether he’s irritated with the answer. Much of the outcome is based on the employee’s mindset that day.

Reply to email you’ve acted on
All too often email is nothing more than a great abyss of communication. You send an email that asks for a specific response, only to hear nothing at all. Did the recipient read the message? Did they delete it? Are they ignoring or acting? An email without a reply is an email never received. I know it’s work, and I know that we all get a metric ton of email, but if you read it, it’s only a couple of extra seconds to say "Message received, working on it".

What about you? What are your must-do tips for online interaction?


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