Netiquette – Communication over the Internet


I’m sure you’ve received one of those emails where you can’t decipher what is being said or you are wondering, “what in the world is the challenge of this person, writing to me in this manner of language or tone”.

Etiquette as you probably know has to do with protocol in social or official circles. Well, today I’m going to talk about Netiquette which has to do with protocol when it comes to communication over the net (internet) such as in writing emails/social media interaction, and even texting.

For this article, I will confine myself to the use of the word email even though you may apply most of the tips to the others. One thing we need to realise in all of this is that communication is a big issue!

Now, I wouldn’t talk down at you, God forbid! I’ve been the culprit myself. If I must confess, I got caught up in the latest fad, writing ‘IJMN’ in an email or text when you mean ‘in Jesus’ mighty name’, and did I get told off by one of my big sisters! That stopped me in my tracks for good.

Let’s get to it as I share some tips on writing emails –
Don’t talk as if you are talking to the computer: Always remember there is a live person at the other end of your message; this fact should reflect in the wording, style and the tone of the message.

Enable yourself by following the rules of good writing: Emailing is more or less a faster method of communication in written form as against the traditional style of posting. However, care has to be taken in the way you come across in writing as you don’t want to be seen as being abrupt. Don’t write things people cannot understand, like the example given above, some may not know the meaning of IJMN for a start off and to make it worse, it’s an insult to render our Lord and Saviour, the awesome God to an abbreviation. Make sure your writing is error free to a great extent. Remember, your writing is your brand – it is your ambassador.

Do away with the caps lock: When you write an email in caps it gives the impression that you are shouting about something. It’s never ok to shout at another person! Make your point by using the underline or bold tabs. Never resort to excessive exclamation marks unless it is to emphasise a happy moment or bring urgent attention to something.

It’s alright to be informal: You don’t have to restrict yourself to the use of ‘Dear’ in the salutation to begin your message; you may use ‘Hi’ or just a name. Of course, replace ‘Yours sincerely’ with ‘Kind Regards’ ‘Best wishes’ or some other informal phrase for the closing.

Your heading will get your email opened: Give your message an appropriate heading. If your message pertains to one point it will help in arriving at the most suitable heading.

Short sentences and paragraphs: This will motivate others to read what you are saying and understand the point you are making. Remember, long sentences and paragraphs are harsh on the eye and give others a reason to not read what you have written.

Clarity: Add clarity to your message with the use of bullets, numbers and/or sub-headings.

Read, read and read over your message: I can’t over emphasise this. Many times we are in a rush to send out a message and we hit the send button too hastily. Every time I have done this, I get a rude shock of embarrassing mistakes/errors which could have been avoided if I had given it one last check before hitting that button. This point is particularly relevant when we make use of today’s smart phones and tablets which tend to have ‘a mind of their own’ with the predictive text/word facility.

Voila! I’m done. I hope this helps because this is what articles of grace is about – assisting/showing others in the little things, how to achieve great heights in the big things.

Till we meet up again. Stay blessed.

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