In today’s world there are rules for everything. Rules that tell us how to eat properly, how to dress properly, how to behave properly… online, offline, anywhere, anytime. It was in my “Writing for New Media” lecture that I became aware of the dimension of this issue – and that I should definitely improve my knowledge of the newest “netiquettal” trends out there.
Because cyber communities consist of real human beings
As Jenny Preece writes in her article about online etiquette, “one person’s clever joke is another person’s offensive insult”. The anonymity of the exponentially expanding internet allows for more uninhibited behaviour than in actual face-to-face situations. Thus, online etiquette is necessary, even though people are not looking each other in the eyes while communicating.
Generally, it doesn’t make a difference for me if I communicate with people that are commanding respect online or offline. While common sense and experience have taught me the basic internet etiquette, I realised that some behavioural patterns reveal themselves to me intuitively. A friend of mine wrote an interesting anecdote about contact she had with a lecturer via email and her discovery about the online etiquette that underlines its complexity.
Nevertheless, it is true that I sometimes talk to people online in a way that I would never address them if we were having an actual face-to-face conversation. In that sense, I want to be more careful in the future. Netiquette means respect. And respect should always be the basis of all communication, no matter how important the other person is or if he is physically present or not.