A Personal Take on Describing Netiquette, its importance in our Day to Day, how to present yourself over the Web, and apply the classic manners to the modern.
• As a personal project, I had this idea for a while, about describing what is Netiquette in my own words, as practical tool for our modern interactions with the World and every Person in it.
This involves of course using your texting or writing tools, available to you from the good old 90’s survivor from that Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks movie: The Email, all the way to social web platforms currently available to today.
As someone who has found the need of imparting Netiquette in the Office since a long time ago (I began to deal with it at the office some 2 decades ago), telling people first about how things work regarding emails, all the nice options and tools the email program offered, and trying to be as organized as possible, including a descriptive subject, watching your Replies and Forwards, and trying not to SPAM.
Today with Facebook, Twitter, and the others, informality has begun to rule again.
You must be short, use emoticons, gifs (their back!), and so on. That means of course people cannot be as “netiquettey” as with an Email.
But, if for any reason you need to elaborate your Post or Message, or go beyond the 140 characters on Twitter, you can always try to follow some or all the next steps...
So, you need to express yourself on something.
Of course, you know the person you are writing to or at least you should (please don’t SPAM), so the first steps in Netiquette start here:
The level of formality:
You know how to express and present yourself well when talking to a client, to your Boss, or someone else who deserves all of your best manners?
Well the same applies even more to the written.
People need to imagine how you are, what you meant, how you said it, and understand the message in most satisfactorily way.
If it’s your first email or message, Include here on what’s about in just a couple of words.
If it’s a reply, or a Forward, keep an eye if you are still on a follow up on the original message. Otherwise, please update your Subject.
Otherwise how should your receiver know at a first glance that you are now sending information on a new topic?
Another thing, it’s a nasty thing, but for some legal and/or tracing reasons, your “RE:’s” and “FW:’s” add up when you Reply or Forward, so when you are on your “RE:RE:FW:RE:FW:RE:RE:RE Subject” doing a Subject “grooming” its also OK.
What to write?
Here enters your day to day rules.
Starting with Dear X, Hello Mr/Mrs X, or a more informal Hi, usually set the tone of the rest of the message, so keep it in mind what you want to say from the beginning.
Saying Good Bye:
Besides your usual “Sincerely”, “Thank you” or “Looking forward to your comments or feedback”, comes the signing part:
If you are at the message box on Facebook, well you could might as well skip this part, but since Email is still our main suspect in this Blog, you could endeavour yourself into the signing Tools:
All Email Programs and Webmail have their own options on this:
so which ever you use, include the universal Best or Kind Regards, followed by your Name, and from there on your position and company if this is a professional email, and a continued by your contact info, including, Address, Phone, Some Instant Messaging Platform you use like skype, your or your company’s Website, a LOGO (if the program accepts it) and one of those confidentiality disclaimers,
I will post one here if you like it be my guest to use it:
Confidentiality Disclaimer: The information contained in this e-mail (and attachments) is private, confidential, and exclusive use of the recipient specified. Any use, reproduction, disclosure, or distribution by anyone other than its (their) recipient (s) is strictly prohibited. If you have received this email in error, please notify the sender immediately by e-mail and delete it from your system. This communication is with the only purpose of transmitting information and content should not be considered as a proposal, acceptance, the basis for taking any action, nor as an official statement of the Sender. The company assumes no liability for the content of this communication, or take responsibility for the proper and complete transmission of the same or any delay in its receipt.
To deepen the topic a bit more, how about going through the lost art of Politeness: The same way being punctual is a sign of respect, it also is to be well spoken or transmitting a sense to the receiver of your Mail or Message, that you have taken the time to think before you write something.
If your Text is of the Angry sort, remember the classic: Write an angry letter and then rip it apart! Well stop there and don’t rip apart your Computer, but simply delete it and start writing again, until you notice your vein in your forehead has stopped to Pop out and you stop seeing Red. Then the deep breaths and a couple of Ohm’s and go ahead. Elaborate why you want to send the receiver to oblivion… but now do it with Style!
I had this argument a couple of times so far, regarding the “Diplomatic” and the “Saying everything that comes to your mind” approaches. First, always remember that you only own your thoughts if they are in your Head... once you spell them out or in this case even worse, write them down and send them to someone, the potential misunderstanding is on the Table, and fixing them is even harder. So always try to be wise about what and how you use your words.
In this age where everyone is jumpy, stressed out, and behind on their favourite 10 Streaming Series on Netflix, it is always good to have a tad of consideration. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t speak your mind freely, just remember that writing it down accordingly to the social Netiquette rules, will help you with avoiding the misunderstandings.
Don’t do so much rumbling…
and cut of the BS (You can never know enough about the person you are contacting)
Accuracy and Precision in your writings. Saying what you mean directly, or even elaborately, but only to enhance the message, are greatly appreciated by any receiver.
After passing the mandatory formal intro, reading directly into the core, knowing your ideas, your perspective, your suggestions, your doubts, everything that is related.
It brings your receivers mind to a full state of attention, and will already begin to process a response.
Unless this email is something more characterized as an unformal message, rumbling on and on the outer layers of the onion won’t do your message any good.
Now the worst part comes in the form of trying to come off as someone smarter or wiser on the topic, but doing it through cheap sell ads, being condescending, and doing it all just to obviously trying to sell your idea or point.
First, even though you know, or you think you know the person you are writing to, this is never the right way to proceed (unless you are deliberately trying to look like an Arse, in which case you can now skip this tutorial). Refer only to the solid facts of your subject, and in case you don’t have them, then proceed by enunciating your ideas accordingly and making clear for example: that these are to the best of your knowledge, that you are completely open for suggestion, or looking forward to further input on the subject from the receiver of your Email.
First it shows some commitment to your brand, company or yourself.
By registering a Domain Name yourname@yourdomainname dot com or similar, you have set a “virtual address” that some can look in to.
For example, if you send an email trying to provide consulting on something, and your domain name points to a website, that is dedicated to that service, explaining a bit more in detail you have mentioned in your email, it will definitely bring you closer to a positive response.
To get everything running, you need 3 things. These could be compared to your own house:
A “domain name”, this is something you buy with a Registrar, and that could be understood as your home address.
So, for example, thisisme.com is the same as john doe, samplestreet 10, house1, not a fake town.
A .com or similar usually doesn’t go higher than 15$ a year.
Under this name you can now also operate your customized Emails, to apply all your now mastered netiquette skills.
A “Hosting”, which you buy with a Hosting Provider, something usually also provided by the same Registrar Company.
Basic Packages are dead cheap, so don’t worry about the expenses here neither.
A hosting is like the terrain where you build your House.
The size here is easy to expand behind, so don’t worry about buying a couple of acres upfront if you only need a simple store.
Although if things grow, your backyard can grow with it accordingly, without having to move your house address or in this case your domain name.
Here well you could go from the simple to the fancy architect and contractor combo, and use companies and designers that will do all the Job for you, or you could use some of the DIY options out there as well, something like Netzbuilder.com
Depending on the structure itself, or how much information you want to put out there, a website could be a simple “Landing Page” as something were nothing is on besides your brand name, a short slogan, and a contact form, all the way to complex site, with multiple subsections, and online store, and more.
The important thing I would rescue here is that whatever you are emailing and writing to people, the content of your website kind-a reflects this also.
As I mentioned in the beginning, I put this Netiquette interpretation together from my own perspective, and I hope you enjoyed it and found some useful tips on them.
I hope I haven’t stretched the sarcastic tone to far, since I enjoy it as long it is an obviously comic remark.
In case that someone got it the wrong way, well, I'm sorry for that.
For a more dictionary level reference on Netiquette, I am sure Wikipedia and all the other smart blogs out there can furthermore help you out.
All my best,
A short Contact Form: