This story originally appeared on the Gents Cafe Newsletter. You can subscribe here.
Netiquette is a combination of the words network and etiquette and is defined as a set of rules for acceptable online behavior. A gentleman understands that as he navigates this life, he has to adapt without losing his je ne sais quoi, and communicating online would have some challenges and misunderstandings because of the absence of facial expressions and body language. However, this is where we adjust and extend assistance to those experiencing difficulty. Here are a few tips to improve your digital presence.
Be Forgiving – We are all adapting to being online more frequently for professional purposes so expect people to make mistakes. Everyone starts somewhere, you too were once a beginner so be forgiving when people make a mistake.
Help Maintain Order – When in the role of administrator or facilitator for any online environment, you do have the privilege of control but a gentleman knows his role is to assist with the proper flow of the discussion and dousing of any flaring tempers. Assist in maintaining order, don’t be the bully in charge.
Respect Privacy – When you are connected to someone on a website like Facebook or LinkedIn, you may be given privileged access to information. Ensure you do not breach anyone’s privacy by sharing any of the information you’re privy to. Similarly, if you received information via email or any messenger application.
Have Disagreements Without Discord – When involved in any online discussion, it is important to be respectful of the other people involved. Don’t make it personal by attacking the person verbally, disclosing issues, and avoiding the use of inappropriate language. Always engage in a form of constructive criticism so it may be useful.
Share Knowledge and Truth – Gents, before you speak ask yourself, is it true? Is it useful? Do I have the facts? It is easy for untruths, and mistakes to become accepted as fact and propagated. You have the responsibility to ensure the accuracy of your contributions.
Respect People’s Time – Punctuality when attending online meetings is still important. Being punctual is a sign of professionalism and it shows you’re reliable and trustworthy.
I have a saying: Let’s not do the wrong things in front of the right people. I’ve seen numerous examples of people falling short, especially for online meetings. Doing things that can damage not only their personal brand but that of their business or place of employment.
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