What does the term Netiquette mean in our digital world?


As stated by the University of Phoenix, the term “netiquette” is used to refer to online etiquette over networks, such as online communities, forums, and even online learning environments.

Following the rules of netiquette improves the readability of your messages, lays the groundwork for making trustworthy connections and helps other people to better understand you.

Here are a few guidelines to help you follow proper netiquette (University of Phoenix 2016):

  • Stay on topic. While discussion is encouraged, rambling conversations aren’t conducive to a quality experience.
  • Use appropriate subject lines in your replies. As a conversation evolves, it’s helpful to change the subject line of a threaded message to reflect the changing topic. For example, if the subject line reads "Participation requirements" and the conversation evolves into a discussion on attendance, changing the subject line to “Attendance” in your reply would help others interested in the topic to join the conversation.
  • Avoid ''I agree'' and ''Me, too!'' messages. Spending time reading messages without substance can be frustrating for all parties.
  • Avoid posting messages using all caps. (IT'S LIKE SHOUTING!) It’s OK to use all caps occasionally to emphasize a point, but you should only capitalize the individual words you want to highlight, not the entire sentence or paragraph.
  • Avoid writing errors, even when "talking" with one another. Even though messages posted in the Main newsgroup are conversational and often informal; please avoid posting messages with grammatical, spelling and typographical errors.  Post intelligible messages despite the informality of the environment.
  • Carefully choose the format for your messages. Long paragraphs are difficult for other people to follow on-screen. In general, try to limit each paragraph to five to seven lines and avoid using font styles, colors and sizes that are difficult to read. Please also avoid using stationery because it takes longer to download.
  • Be friendly. Remember that even though you can’t see the person you’re connecting with online,  you’re still connecting with someone. Before posting a comment, ask yourself “Would I say this to a person face to face?”  If the answer is “no,” don’t post it.
  • Avoid responding when emotions are running high. If you’re angry about something someone has posted, don’t reply to their message until you’ve had a chance to calm down. Remember, your posted messages can be seen by everyone, even potential employers.
  • Before posting anyone’s picture on any social networking site, get the person’s permission. Give your friends, family members and co-workers the opportunity to control their digital self.

Abbreviations and acronyms

Abbreviations and acronyms are commonly used in online communications to quickly express words and phrases that we use in everyday conversation.

Abbreviations and acronyms that are frequently used online include:

  • BTW:  By the way
  • FYI:  For your information
  • IMO:  In my opinion
  • IMHO:  In my humble opinion
  • IMNSHO:  In my not-so-humble opinion
  • OIC:  Oh, I see
  • OTOH:  On the other hand
  • ROTFL:  Rolling on the floor, laughing
  • LOL:  Laughing out loud
  • TIA: Thanks, in advance
  • :  Grin


Writers often use “emoticons” to convey their feelings in electronic communications like text messages, e-mails and message boards. Emoticons blend text and punctuation together to visually portray facial expressions.

Tilt your head slightly to the left to read the following emoticons:

  • :-) Smiling
  • ;-) Winking and smiling
  • :-D Laughing
  • :-( Frown
  • :-o Oh!


The University of South Alabama (2015) located in Mobile, Alabama has identified some rules in which students should follow under the netiquette guidelines in their online classes. 

Standards for Communication (Forums, emails) in Online Courses

 Be respectful and professional in all online communications.

 Use language that is clear, concise, non-sarcastic, and non-offensive.

 Use correct spelling and grammar. Proofread!

 Keep an open mind and be willing to express even a minority opinion.

 In Forums, your comments should extend discussions, not just repeat someone else’s thoughts.

 Be aware of USA’s policies on Academic Conduct, Disruption, and Plagiarism.

 Think before you push the “Submit” button.

 When in doubt, check with the professor. *


Below is a list of 10 social media netiquette rules (Spira, 2010).

1. The Authenticity Rule – be real, and remember it’s not always about you.

2. The Google Rule – don’t let others know you have researched them online.

3. The S.P.A.M. Rule – everyone doesn’t play games and everyone does not want to buy your product

4. Spreading the Love Rule – Comment and share on your friends Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In pages  

5. The Personalize it Rule – when friend requesting – personalize your messages.

6. The Off-Limits Rule – Opinions on controversial subjects should be left out.

7. The Tag – You’re It Rule – Don’t post unflattering pictures of friends online and then tag them

8. The When in Doubt, Don’t Rule – Don’t overpost or tweet

9. The Send Button Rule – Be sure to edit before pressing send.

10. The Acronyms Rule – don’t overuse acronyms online.



  1. Never post personal information 
  2. Always check the TO: field 
  3. Don't be gullible 
  4. Don't respond to an angry message with anger 
  5. Never open messages from strangers 
  6. Don't forward chain mails, hoaxes or long emails 
  7. Use the BCC: field when forwarding messages 
  8. Proofread your messages 
  9. Beware of certain topics 
  10. Don't post anything that is very private 


Marbellafamilyfun.com (2016) How to avoid cyberbulling. Retrieved July 20, 2016, from http://www.marbellafamilyfun.com/avoid-    


Christensson, P. (2006). Netiquette Definition. Retrieved 2015, August 24, from http://techterms.com


Spira, J. (2010). The Top 10 Rules of Netiquette for Social Media. Retrieved from http://socialmediamore.com/the-top


University of Phoenix (2016) Netiquette. Retrieved on July 20, 2016, from http://www.phoenix.edu/students/online-                                                      communities/netiquette.html


University of South Alabama (2015) Netiquette. Retrieved on July 20, from

             https://southalabama.edu/departments/ilc/resources/Netiquette_Guidelines _for_Online_Courses_08042015.pdf