Over the years, the beauty of the Internet has opened many different doors pertaining to socializing, networking, and the overall art of communication. Today, computer users of all ages are exploring the possibilities associated with chat rooms, discussion boards, forums, and online personals. Sending emails, instant messaging family and friends, and relaying text messages across the World Wide Web are also popular forms of contact. Despite the fact that users are unseen behind the guise of their computer, there is still a written and unwritten code of conduct that exists about the Internet.
Even in the world of online communication, one may offend, confuse, and irritate the people they send emails to or speak with in a chat room. Just as you participate in face-to-face communication, you are often aware of the way you move your body, execute hand gestures, or raise your voice. When contacting others across the Internet, there are also certain messages conveyed through the way you type out your thoughts. One of the most irritating online habits involves the use of all-caps when typing to others. Not only are long strings of capped words a strain on the eyes to read, but is often viewed as "shouting."
When typing emails or chatting with others while online, spelling and grammar really does count in not only making people see your side of things, but also promoting intelligent and free-flowing conversation. Usually, glaring spelling mistakes cause a distraction and confusion in correspondences. Additionally, just because you attempt to avoid making spelling errors and lapses in grammar – doesn’t mean you have the right to criticize others for their poor use of the English language. It is highly suggested to ignore the spelling mistakes of others and concentrate on the way you communicate while online.
Additional email etiquette rules include the avoidance of sending or forwarding junk mail and Internet hoaxes, forwarding virus warnings (which are sometimes hoaxes), replying to all recipients of a collectively sent email, and sending unnecessarily large attachments.
There are also plenty of "netiquette" issues to recognize when communicating with others in online communities (chat rooms and forums). One of the first things to do when joining a chat room, forum, or other online group is familiarize oneself with the rules or guidelines of the service. This practice comes in rather handy and helps one avoid any future online confrontations or misunderstandings.
At all times, your privacy should be protected, as well as other members of the online community. It is unwise to use full names in chat room correspondences and is rude to ask the full names of those you come in contact with. Staying on topic is also a rule of Internet etiquette. For instance, if you have joined a chat room community regarding model airplanes, it is often inappropriate to start sharing your marital problems with others. Using offensive language is warned against and is usually punished (suspension or ban).
When chatting, it is also suggested to keep messages short and present information in the most concise manner. Also, a common practice is to use abbreviations, but not everyone is familiar with the current lingo and this should be kept in mind – the abbreviation of your words and phrases should be used sparingly.
Overall, it is suggested to treat communication across the Internet in the same manner that you like to receive correspondences. Usually, the things that irritate you are the same actions others dislike as well.
Linda Allen is the co-founder of GirlfriendsCafe, a social networking site for women throughout the United States and Canada.For complete information on GirlfriendsCafe, visit our site at http://www.girlfriendscafe.com