Monday, November 1, 2010
1. Privacy online is an illusion. Assume anything you write electronically, or pictures/videos/audio you post could be read, seen, heard and passed along to others by anyone – no matter what the privacy statement says.
2. Post with your first and last name. If you are too afraid or embarrassed to stand behind your remarks online by posting with your real name, it may be a good indication that you shouldn’t be saying it.
3. People reading your posts to Facebook or interpreting an email you sent cannot see your body language or hear the tone of your voice. Be sure to keep that in mind when using sarcasm, humor, or even when typing a message of a serious or sensitive nature. Emoticons can help convey meaning. :-D However, only use them when appropriate. :-/ If you are worried how your audience will receive your message, have a friend look it over before you post/send it. If you’re still unsure, it may be better to arrange a face-to-face discussion.
4. Always ask yourself if you are being reliable, honest, and helpful. Is your reasoning valid and your arguments of claims supported with cited evidence from reliable sources? These questions are valuable because they force you to view your online communication from the lens of the reader.
5. Give credit where credit is due. Never plagiarize. Citing your sources will add to your credibility and online reputation. For more information on plagiarism, visit plagiarism.com.
6. Your communication should be clearly outlined in simple language and be easy to navigate. Remember the statement “the pen is mightier than the sword.” You are the wielder of the pen. People expect and deserve to be provided with accurate, relevant and timely information in context.
7. Be aware of your audience. Avoid using slang or idioms when possible. Someone may not understand your reference, and misinterpret its meaning. It is better to speak in clear and concise terms. Say what you mean directly, and respectfully.
8. People are busy. They appreciate being able to identify the purpose of your communication quickly. Break up long blocks of text with headings, bullet points, and other visual cues to guide the reader. The reader can more easily scan your document, determine its urgency and locate relevant information.
9. Avoid getting involved in “flame wars” online. If you are upset or angry, avoid posting things to your social networking sites or sending any electronic communication. Assume everything you post on the Internet is permanent, even if you delete it. Something you say in the heat of the moment could have long lasting and serious consequences. A friend once said “Don’t argue with a fool on the Internet. The spectators can’t tell the difference.”
10. Don't be rude. TYPING IN ALL CAPITALS LETTERS IS CONSIDERED “SHOUTING.” Don’t correct grammar or spelling in a comment. Send them a private message to alert them to the mistake. Politely ask for clarification if you are confused about their meaning.