We expect other drivers to observe the rules of the road. The same is true as we travel through cyberspace. That's where netiquette, a term allegedly coined from either network etiquette or Internet etiquette comes in handy. To guide you through your online communications, keep these pointers in mind:
1.Avoid writing e-mail or posting messages in blogs, newsgroups, forums, chat rooms and other online venues using all capital letters. IT LOOKS LIKE YOU'RE SHOUTING! Not only that, it's difficult to read.
2.When you talk with someone, the tone and inflections of your voice convey great meaning. To add personality and humor to your messages, use smileys, also known as emoticons, expressions you create using the characters on your keyboard. Below are some of the more popular smileys. Can you guess what they mean? Roll your cursor over each one to find out.
3.Keep your written communications focused. This is true whether sending e-mail or posting messages online. Few people like reading lengthy text on a computer screen. Many people now receive e-mail on mobile phones and other portable devices. Tiny screens make reading e-mail challenging.
4.To shorten messages, use common abbreviations:
< BTW > means By the Way.
A < G > enclosed in brackets indicates grinning.
A good one to keep handy in case you're worried about offending someone is < IMHO > -- In My Humble Opinion.
One of our favorites is < ROTFL >, which stands for Rolling on the Floor Laughing. A shortened version is < LOL >--Laughing Out Loud. And if you get called away while chatting online, try < BRB >--Be Right Back.
For help with abbreviations, consult a dictionary of Internet Slang.
5.Remember that comments you post to a blog, newsgroup, forum or website and write during a public chat session is a publicly available. You never know who's reading it or who may copy and spread it around. It could come back to haunt you.