Internet communication has become a part and parcel of today’s digitized world. To maintain a healthy communication over the internet digital decorum has also been evolved over time. Digital decorum more commonly known as Digital Etiquette or Netiquette is basically etiquette on the internet. “Digital etiquette refers to correct proper, polite, acceptable, social, official, professional norms, behavioural patterns and accepted decorum for using the internet or the cyberspace for communication purposes”. These are the general communal rules for gentle and respectful interaction between the people in a communication medium in which the form of communication is either one-to-one or one-to-many. These rules of communication are not legally bind but commonly accepted suggestions for interpersonal communication in digital media. Digital platforms like newsgroups, e-mail, social media, forums, chats or communities, digital classrooms and online meetings must follow digital decorum for effective communication. Nowadays, digital etiquettes have become an integral part of digital communication. Digital decorum plays an important role in effective communication and leaves a fingerprint of one’s thought in virtual communication.
Importance of Digital Decorum in the digitized era
Virtual communication has become a part of daily routine. From waking up in the morning to going to bed at night we all are surrounded by digital media, e-meetings and e-learning. So, it is necessary to understand how should be our behaviour and what things we should have adopted for making virtual communication effective. Thus, digital decorum helps us to educate about do’s and don’ts in internet communication. In today’s world everyone is leaving their online footprint through social media. And this online footprint tells about the person’s thoughts and behaviour which helps companies to search for potential employees online before hiring. So, it is important to follow digital decorum even on social media and other platforms to get a good placement. Everyone has freedom of speech and digital media has become a platform for writing our opinion online which affects one’s personal reputation either positively or negatively. So, it is important to “THINK” twice before posting anything on social media. Digital decorum teaches one’s how to use social media. Non-verbal cues are somewhat difficult to understand in internet communication, especially when the communication involves e-mails and messages. Thus, good digital etiquette is to be clear in what one’s writing in e-mails and messages. Digital decorum should be added to the educational curriculum to teach students about maintaining good virtual communication and preventing situations like cyberbullying and damage to personal reputation.
Rules of Digital Decorum
Remember the human: The general rule of digital decorum is to remember the person and to behave online in the same manner as the way one behave in offline communication. Most people get into trouble while communicating online because they often forget that they are communicating with real people itself only the medium of communication has changed. It’s normal to misunderstand the context of someone’s word when you can’t see their facial expression and body language so it is important to keep that person in mind while reading their e-mails, messages, etc.
Adhere to the same standards of behaviour online that you follow in real life: Being anonymous, or at the very least faceless, has freeing effect, allowing you to say things you wouldn’t say in person. You can type it, upload it then log out of social media or shut down your computer. This may help you to ignore everyone’s response for a while. However, this type of online behaviour can still get you in trouble – just not as quickly as if you were listening to their response in person. Copying another person’s work, for example, maybe illegal. Furthermore, claiming someone did something when they didn’t may be considered defamatory and harm their reputation. So, it is important to follow ethics even when you are communicating online.
Know where you are in cyberspace: As each online forum and domain has its own set of regulations, it is important to know where you’re writing — and who your audience is. What is good to one group may appear against another’s mentality or customs. For example, if you mistakenly post about your views on a particular political party and all the way you think about their work ad agenda and you are communicating to that political party chat group on social media, you may receive comments from offended group members.
Respects other’s time and bandwidth: In today’s world, information overload can be overpowering. It’s important to respect people’s time by communicating online in a concise and to-the-point manner. It’s also important to remember that your messages, whether they’re sent via email or posted on the internet, take up space in storage systems. It’s not a good idea to spam mailing lists with huge files or needless information.
Make yourself look good online: Content is key in online communication. Grammar and spelling also play an important and meaningful part. Before posting anything about you think you “KNOW”, be sure you actually know about everything that you are talking about. Keep it short and precise than showing off. It is important to keep in mind that not to write a message in all caps as it is understood to be similar to shouting at the recipient.
Share expert knowledge: Nowadays sharing and retrieving expert knowledge and information has become easy due to expanded online communication. Sharing knowledge is one of the good thing. If you are an expert and have research or news to share, you can just write it and post it.
Help keep flame wars under control: Flaming, on the other hand, appears to be common in the cyber world, where people aim to stir up controversy by expressing strong and offensive sentiments. While it may be anticipated in some forums and chat rooms, it is not welcomed in others. Chat rooms are very fascinating. Swearing, creating flame fights, or making comments that you know will spark debate are all poor digital etiquette. It is better to avoid all these flame fights.
Respect one another’s privacy: Freedom to share data at the click of a button comes at a cost. Respecting the privacy of others is an essential digital etiquette rule. Doxxing is the practice of publicly identifying or posting private information about someone as a kind of revenge or punishment. You should also avoid from spying around on someone else’s computer or email to obtain information that would otherwise be unavailable to you. Others may be tempted to try to acquire access to our personal information if everything is written down. So avoid not posting each and everything on the internet.
Don’t abuse your power: For example, System administrators, may have more influence in cyberspace than others. However, there are some boundaries that should not be broken, such as accessing other people’s personal information. People in powerful positions may use social media platforms to get an advantage over their opponents or to knock others down because they can and because they have a large following. It’s a good idea not to abuse this ability or say something on the internet that you might regret later.
Be forgiving of other people’s mistakes: Mistakes are unavoidable in a forum regulated by the written word and individual writers. While some are costly or embarrassing than others, it is wise to be forgiving if possible. We should all be cautious about providing inaccurate information, especially if it could harm someone’s reputation. If someone says something harsh about us without intending to offend, we should try to forgive them and accept their mistake.
In today’s digitized world a person should be aware of his activities and communication over the internet. Digital decorum refers to a set of behavioural rules that relate to various kinds of communication over the internet. Online communication is the same as offline communication if we understand the basics of digital decorum. New technologies and innovations are deriving day by day over the internet, all that we need is to learn how to use them for our wellness. Digital decorum is the perfect set of rules to maintain peace and healthy communication over the internet.
The Growing Need of Netiquette in the Digital Age, Dr. Sonia Agarwal & Dr. Manu Agarwal, IOSR Journal of Engineering (IOSRJEN) www.iosrjen.org ISSN (e): 2250-3021, ISSN (p): 2278-8719 Vol. 07, Issue 03 (March. 2017), ||V1|| PP 70-72.
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