Manners really do matter on the web. Follow these simple Do’s and Don’ts to avoid looking like a fool online!
- Build your own brand
Your internet presence is your personal brand – so make sure you promote yourself positively online and protect your reputation. Only do things online that you’d be happy for your mum to see.
Did you know? 40% of employers admit to checking the social media profiles of candidates when deciding who to employ. What would they think of yours?
- Treat others the way you’d like to be treated
Act towards other internet users the way you’d want them to act towards you – be pleasant and polite, and remember to say thanks if someone has helped you.
Why not try… making someone’s day! Carry out a few little acts of online kindness. Pay someone a compliment online, make them smile or sponsor a stranger’s charity event.
- Share, but be fair
The internet is for sharing! But just like you would in real life, make sure you give others credit for what they have created or achieved.
- Report & Record Bad Behavior
Seen someone behaving badly online, or being abused online yourself? Report them to the website owner and make a note of what happened and when.
Speak up! The police have a non-emergency number that you can call if you are the victim of illegal or abusive behavior.
- Listen & Think First, Talk Later
Gauge the culture of the site you’re posting on. Consider whether your contribution will be valuable, relevant and in keeping with the site. If it won’t – don’t post!!
Did you know? Hijacking online conversations with irrelevant or pointless contributions is one of the hallmarks of a troll. Make sure your words are useful!
The internet is a great place to debate any topic under the sun. But keep it civilized by debating politely – respect other people’s opinions, even if you disagree with them.
Don’t forget – reasoned debate is a human trait, but it can turn nasty. Do your bit to keep things friendly and report abusive users rather than replying.
- Use Proper English
Poor spelling and grammar may expose you to ridicule in some online circles, so make sure you use proper English and not ‘text speak’ when posting online.
Remember – people from all round the world may be posting on the same site as you. Ensure that what you write can be easily understood by everyone.
- Be Careful What You Share
Sharing information on Facebook or retweeting something on Twitter can be an illegal act. Make sure you know the law on social media before you share.
In The News – Just because lots of other people share something illegal doesn’t mean you can’t still be prosecuted – you could even end up in prison for what you say on Facebook or Twitter.
- Remember People May Not Be Who They Seem
The anonymity of the internet makes it easy for anybody to pretend to be someone they’re not. You may think you’re chatting to a nice person your own age, but it could be someone totally different with sinister intentions.
Remember – if you’re meeting up with someone you’ve met online, tell a friend where you’re going and meet in a busy and public place.
- Be Wary Of Your Footprint
Everything you do online leaves a digital footprint. Images of you can be shared, and even video chats can be recorded and distributed. If you do share personal images and videos online, make sure it’s only with people you know and can fully trust.
Remember – you can never be too careful. There have been numerous cases of people getting into embarrassing situations by sharing compromising images and videos of themselves online. Make sure it doesn’t happen to you!
- Don’t Be A PR Disaster
A person is known by the company they keep. Everything you do online leaves a footprint, so choose carefully who you hang out with online, and don’t break the law.
Don’t forget – online actions such as swearing, racism, insulting others and posting photos showing drinking, drug-taking or nudity have all cost people real-life job opportunities.
- Don’t Forget The Human Behind The Screen
Remember that all internet users are real human beings with feelings. Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t say to someone’s face.
Don’t be tempted to hide behind the relative anonymity of the internet. These days, even anonymous accounts could be traced back to you relatively easily.
- Don’t Feed The Trolls
Trolls are deliberately provocative, and retaliating will only make the situation worse. If you’re the victim of a troll, don’t write back – simply ignore and report them.
Did you know? Anybody can be the victim of a troll, but according to research carried out by Knowthenet 19-year-old males are the most likely targets. Olympic diver Tom Daley was one recent high-profile victim
- Don’t Fail To Abide By The Site Rules
Not abiding by the rules of the site you’re posting on will annoy its member and leave you open to criticisms and abuse. It’s asking for trouble!
Don’t forget – most sites have a code of conduct, frequently asked questions or guide for newcomers. Read this information carefully before posting!
- Don’t Get Personal
You are bound to come across opinions you disagree with. But don’t express your disagreement by attacking the person – everyone is entitled to their views, so put your opinion across calmly.
Did you know? Internet trolls get a kick from personal attacks. Make sure you don’t behave like a troll yourself!
- Don’t Shout
On the internet, writing in capital letters means you’re shouting. Make sure you don’t give the wrong impression by ensuring your caps lock is off before posting.
Did you know? Capital letters being used for shouting originated in the early days of the internet, when most communication was done in plain text and it was difficult to show emotion.
- Don’t Just Retweet
Don’t just share other people’s content – make your own contribution to cyberspace. Write your own posts and voice your own opinions if you want to be taken seriously on Twitter.
Remember – Retweeting is a great way of sharing great things you’ve found online, but too many retweets and not enough of your own tweets will lose you followers.
- Don’t Assume A False Identity
It’s easy to be anonymous on the internet, but anonymity makes the internet a more dangerous place for everyone and can be used to hide a multitude of sins. Though you should refrain from posting too many personal details online, don’t go too far the other way and assume a completely false identity.
Did you know? Even false identities can be traced to real individuals these days, thanks to your IP address and other clues your online interactions leave for detectives.
- Don’t Share Images Or Videos With Strangers
Don’t do, say or share anything online that you wouldn’t be comfortable with your friends and family seeing – particularly if your own reputation is at stake. Anything you post online, even privately, could go public – and viral!
Don’t forget – the ‘stranger danger’ message we were taught at school applies as much to your online interactions as it does to the real world.