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Author: Cassandra Gray, NASBA Communications Manager
Posted: May 29, 2012

Growing up, lessons in etiquette were a part of everyday life. Set a goal to arrive at scheduled appointments at least 10 minutes in advance. Eat to your left, drink to your right. Make a positive first impression with a verbal introduction and firm handshake. Express your sincere appreciation by using words such as "please" and "thank you."

With an evolving society comes rapidly changing methods of communication. The traditional greeting card once sent through "snail mail" has been conveniently replaced with eCards; voicemail has been substituted with text or instant messaging. In this era of technological advancement, there is a need for a specific type of etiquette tailored for technology users. Hence, the evolution of Netiquette.

Netiquette, short for "Network Etiquette," conveys the do's and don'ts of virtual (online) communication. Listed below are five basic tips that, when used appropriately, will position anyone as a polished and well-spoken online communicator.

Always proof and spell-check online messaging

Prior to hitting the send/post button on your next social media post or email, be sure to check for spelling and grammatical errors. Online messaging should be treated with as much respect as the written word. Sending erroneous emails and posts diminishes the credibility of the individual/entity conveying the message.

Respond in a timely fashion

As a standard, set aside time daily to read and respond to emails and social media posts. Just as you would in responding to voicemail, it's always a good practice to respond within a 24-hour window. Timely follow-up signifies that you are resourceful and attentive to the needs of others.

Never disparage your colleagues or your employer

Sites such as Facebook and Twitter are primarily used for networking and information sharing, not to use as a platform for public humiliation. Too often, individuals use social media sites as a sounding board to relieve frustration. Remember, whether on or off the clock, you still represent your employer. Always assume there is a chance your employer can see everything you post.

Avoid the use of ALL CAPS

Establishing the appropriate tone is a key element of effective communication. Therefore, the use of ALL CAPS should be limited unless used for emphasis in a subject line, or introducing a title/heading. Otherwise, speaking in ALL CAPS can be easily interpreted as shouting, and completely sway how a conversation or message is received.

Practice mutual respect

Whether communicating via Facebook, Twitter or personal email, one rule of thumb that should never be compromised is the Golden Rule…do (communicate) unto others as you would want them to do (communicate) unto you. Online communication should always maintain a level respect and integrity.

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