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 »  Home  »  Business & Finance  »  Computers & Tech  »  Netiquette 101 for new Netizens
Netiquette 101 for new Netizens
By Tech Notes | Published  07/9/2006 | Computers & Tech | Rating:
Tech Notes
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Surfing the Internet can be fun, useful, and social for both adults and kids. But it's important for all new Internet citizens, also called netizens, to remember that there are other surfers out there. And, like real surfing or any other public activity, there are implied rules of behavior or etiquette to follow. Failing to grasp the netizen ropes could result in more than just missed opportunities -- saying the wrong thing at the wrong time could provoke harassment or other problems.

So before a new user or child grabs the mouse to dive in to send messages, chat in chat rooms, play games, or visit Web sites, we suggest the following guidelines that can help them handle most any situation in cyberspace.

Guidelines for good netiquette

  • Apply the golden rule: Treat others the way you would like to be treated.
  • Remember there is a person on the other end of your message.
  • Know where you are and use appropriate good behavior.
  • Be forgiving of other people's mistakes, especially newcomers.
  • Always remain calm, especially if someone insults you (or you think they have).
  • Avoid using ALL CAPS to emphasize -- many perceive this as "yelling" or find it annoying.
  • Refrain from using inappropriate or offensive language.
  • Use your online name or nickname consistently and sign all messages with it (but protect your real identity by never using your full name).
  • Don't send or forward junk e-mail (commonly referred to as spam).
  • Stay out of ongoing, emotional arguments or "flame wars."
  • Check your spelling, be concise, and keep messages short.
  • When participating in chat rooms, avoid interrupting others and stay on topic.
  • Follow the same rules of good behavior that you would in real life.
  • Use emoticons to help communicate humor and sarcasm, and learn the common online acronyms (see below).

Using emoticons

Getting along as a netizen doesn't stop with etiquette. Because it's often difficult to convey emotion, intent, or tone through text alone, early Internet users invented emoticons, which are virtual facial expressions made from basic keyboard characters, like the colon and right parentheses (just remember to rotate your head left a bit, because emoticons lay on their sides at 90 degrees!).

Here are some examples of commonly used emoticons:

:-)   Happy or joking
;-)   Winking
:-(   Unhappy
:-|   Ambivalent
:-o   Surprised or concerned
:-x   Not saying anything
:-p   Sticking out your tongue (usually in fun)

Emoticons are easy and fun to use and you can even create your own. :-}

Learning online acronyms

Another idea that has evolved to streamline communication is using acronyms. Because typing takes longer than speaking, savvy netizens like to reduce common phrases to a few simple letters. If you encounter an acronym you haven't seen yet, politely ask what it means and you'll have a great acronym vocabulary before you know it.

Here are some examples of commonly used acronyms:

ASAP   (As soon as possible)
BBL   (Be back later)
BRB   (Be right back)
LOL   (Laughing out loud)
ROFL   (Rolling on the floor laughing)
BTW   (By the way)
OIC   (Oh, I see)
CUL   (See you later)
OTOH   (On the other hand)
GMTA   (Great minds think alike)
IMHO   (In my humble opinion)
RUOK?   (Are you OK?)
TIA   (Thanks in advance)
J/K   (Just kidding)
TTFN   (Ta-ta for now)

This article is provided by the Microsoft Security at Home website. For more information, please visit

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