A Lesson on Internet Etiquette

Before I start, let me just say that this article was a pain in the butt to read. Hopefully my condensed summary can help you guys write up a good response.

Anna Emilia’s article goes over social media etiquette that one should practice when interacting with others over the internet. She basically comes to the realization that interacting with others is no different over the internet than it is in person. That means staying attentive in conversations, showing the others respect, etc. To help her reinforce this idea, Anna called upon the many blogging gurus to share their wisdom in only 7000 words!

In her wonderful summary of basic do’s and don’ts of social media, Anna outlines what you should and should not do when using things like Facebook and Twitter. I read through the list and thought to myself, Isn’t this stuff pretty obvious? It’s like asking, would you run through the streets maked while screaming profanities at others? The correct answer is no. If you wouldn’t do it in public, then why do it online? It is true that staying anonymous on the internet is actually quite easy, but karma does exist. People see what is posted publicly, and if you’re the guy who is ranting about how he hates black people, expect to receive some hate.

Another good point about blogging that she makes is to keep blogging content relative to the blog. I actually have to keep this in mind myself since I maintain a music blog. It’s good to go on tangents every once in a while to keep everything nice and diverse, but that doesn’t mean to suddenly post about why frog legs taste just like chicken. That also means not to flood your reader with content. Anna calls it “overshare”, where the blogger drowns his or her readers in massive amounts of posts, relative or not to the actual blog. That is the quickest way to kill off current and potential readers.

The one part that I found really helpful from Anna’s post was on tone. Yes, tone. I see it all the time on Facebook and tumblr; people come and they rant nonstop. A high school friend of mine is actually a perfect example of this. He’s a nice guy in real life, but online, he’s just a cynical asshole (can I use this word in a blog post?) that spews his hatred over the newsfeed for all to see. It’s a mess. Please don’t do this when you blog. This apples to her other points as well, but you should also remember who is going to read what you post. If it affects somebody else, don’t forget that there is someone else on the other end of computer who is the object of your writing, regardless of its intention. Saying something nasty about someone else could come back to bite you one day. Treating others poorly will only result in more hostility. Feels like grade school, doesn’t it? Treat others the way you want to be treated. It might seem obvious, but you would be surprised at how many people forget something as simple as this. There’s a reason why teachers even bother with the saying: it’s true.

The next section is on how to act properly for the different social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc., but I won’t go through the details. I’m sure most of you already know how to behave properly online. As for my thoughts on the remaining XXXX amount of words left in the article, I have to say that most of it was pretty…boring. It might be interesting for someone who uses social media as a second identity, but I really only use Facebook (for chatting and what not). Looking at what Emily Henderson had to say on personal pet peeves, I had no idea what she was talking about when dealing with big companies screwing up Twitter with bad twittetiquette. It didn’t really have to do with social media etiquette for us bloggers, and it just seemed kind of silly in general. If you don’t like the way someone writes, then don’t read it. Anyways, I won’t bore you guys any longer with more details, so here’s the tldr on what awesome bloggers think about social media: don’t hate, appreciate.


  1. Miss Bombshell

    Okay so I couldn’t agree with you more when you said this article was the hardest to read due to the fact that the font was way to small and it seemed like she tried to put three life stories on one page. But anyway, when it comes to online etiquette I get a little skeptical about this actually being a “rule”. Because sure I believe that one should bring the manner they have in person to the online world. But, I also feel that the online world offers people a chance to express themselves in ways that they don’t get to in real life. The internet serves as an outlet for most people and I am one of them. In my everyday life I use correct grammar but, when I am online I feel like that’s my time to use slang and be grammatically incorrect as much as I choose. But despite this minor issue about etiquette I agree with the other things she made reference to, especially when she goes over keeping comments related to the blog. Because, it becomes hard as a blogger to take comments as a helpful tip if it has nothing to do with content of the blog. Also, it becomes a pain when people comment on post with their opinion and it is a complete rant about nonsense, I really belive just like twitter blogs should have a character limit.

  2. Brian

    Honestly there are some parts of your post that I agree with and others that I don’t. The main point that I agree with is the idea that oversharing can kill reader’s interests. I was once following a blog called Harsh Reality (I still do from time to time). However, I soon started to get e-mail notifications about when he would post. This would be fine if I didn’t get 5-10 notifications a day. Despite having really good time, I don’t have time to read all of this stuff and it actually made me not interested to read any of it. The parts I don’t agree with are the idea that all dos and don’ts are obvious and your story about your friend. Would I scream racial slurs online: no; but if you ask me would I intentionally rile someone up then my answer would be: I might. Making people emotional and pissing them off is a legitimate way to win an argument. No one would believe a crying, screaming person over a calm, collected individual in a debate even if the crying person was right. Another thing that I might disagree with is your comment about your friend. He sounds a lot like me: nice guy but online he becomes a cynical asshole (essentially my blog). If he is spewing his rage on specific people then yes, he sounds really petty and most people probably wouldn’t give a crap. However, if he is cynical about humanity as a whole, then that is something that a lot of people can relate too and it is a perfectly legitimate topic. After all the world isn’t perfect lets not make the façade that it is.

  3. mjdenis38

    I think the do’s and don’ts the author wrote about are fairly obvious, at least to me about how to have a proper online etiquette. Of course there is no set rule, and you cannot control how other people act behind a computer screen. For the most part, internet behavoir is positive, and provides different creative expressions and constructive criticisms. I think our criticisms get out of hand a lot on online comment sections and forums. I read the ESPN comment sections frequently and half of the time it is just people arguing back and forth about some subject. Just look at Youtube, people argue about stuff that has nothing to do with the videos! I disagree with Brian’s comment because I made calm comments before and found people giving those types of comments better attention and positive feedback than answers that rile somebody up. Remember, there are internet trolls who will willingly post bad content just to get attention and bully those who confront him or her. Some people feel empowered behind a computer screen and username, as we talked about with the Twitter etiquette article. The same principle applies to all other websites. Plus, the age old notion that you treat people the way you want to be treated should apply online. If you willingly give hate online, expect to get it back. I agree with the oversharing concept in the article as well. Posting too much or sharing the same content too much overwhelms readers and they could lose interest because they are falling behind on the content.

  4. evanhuaru

    Most of the topics that Grace Bonney brought up about do’s and don’ts were common sense. That being said, social etiquette should be obvious to almost everyone, but tons of people don’t abide by them. I’m sure everyone’s parents or teachers have taught us manners by now, but people are still extremely rude over the internet. It might be because they’re anonymous and no one’s ever going to find out who said it. I’m sure if the people were speaking in person, most people wouldn’t say insulting comments to others, and so why do it over the internet? In the famous words of Confucius “Don’t do unto others what you don’t want others to do unto you.” and I think that should hold true on the internet as well. You might not be able to see it, but hurtful comments over the internet can have a negative effect on the author. If you are about to write bashful comments, just don’t write it, it’s not helping anyone, just makes things worse. If you write bashful comments, expect others to reply with hurtful comments as well. What goes around comes around, it might be cliché, but it’s true. If the author does receive these kinds of message they shouldn’t take them to heart either, because that’s how they get you. Haters are always going to hate, there’s nothing going to stop that, so just don’t even bother with trolls. I also think people should stay on topic, because it gets annoying reading other people’s comments that have nothing to do with the article or topic.

  5. hillary601

    I can agree that over sharing is something that should not be done on social networking sites. I know that when twitter first startedit’s tag line was what are you doing. I understand the purpose of twitter is to share content about your life, opinions and thought with your followers but I think that there is a limit. The internet does not need to know your bowel movements or your every movement in general. I also think that this can go hand in hand with saying things you shouldn’t say on the internet. Whenever I post something whether it may be a picture or a tweet, I always think about the consequences that may result in my posting if there are any. I always have heard that jobs check your social networking sites when thy are thinking about hiring you. That is why pwoplle should never over share. People should also never oivershare their inappropriate thoughts or beliefs that could be offensive. I am also against trolling. In the end of the day I know that people are going to do it anyway but it should be something that people stay away from. I don’t think you have to have perfect grammar when on social networking sites but I do think that they need to be respectful to others and themselves

  6. hg163

    The author’s list of what to do and what not to do online are pretty obvious. Like you said, you wouldn’t run onto the street naked and scream profanities randomly, so why do it online? But for some reason, a lot of people don’t follow these rules and they come of as a “troll” or something. I think this is because they are, many times, anonymous; they don’t have to put a name to what they are writing and so it probably wont come back to hurt them in real life (it could though). Reading comments on pretty much any site can be a drag because it is pretty much the same stuff everywhere: people arguing pointlessly about something, and often even off topic. The saying “treat people the way you want to be treated” does not only apply to real life, it applies to online as well. No one wants to hear a demeaning comment about him or her. Just look at cyber bullying. I feel that it is sometimes a lot more vicious than face-to-face bullying because the bully can easily be anonymous and not found (at least by the person being bullied).
    I agree with your point about posting too many articles at a time; I think that it could kill a blog quicker than it took to build it up. If you are running a small blog and update it like five times a day, no one would really want to read all those posts (larger blogs are different since there are usually at least a few writers who manage the blog). The reader may feel overwhelmed to all the content to the point where he or she would lose interest in the blog and look for one of the dozens of other blogs about the same topic.

  7. gisellehernandez412

    I agree that these do’s and don’t’s of social media etiquette are obvious–they’re common sense. I couldn’t emphasise the amount of times I’ve heard someone say, “be careful with what you post on the Internet.” I feel like I can speak for most people my age when I say that it’s getting old–we get it, the Internet isn’t completely safe. So many people could have access to your information and can see what you post. That being said, it’s important to be mindful and careful online because your reputation, or even someone else’s, could be at stake. The tips that the author gives in this article are comparable to social etiguette that should be used in person rather than online. I think that the main point is that it’s important to have tact and be respectful when you’re communicating online because what you post is a reflection of yourself and people who read what you write may not necessarily know you personally and will draw conclusions about your charater based on your online persona. People want to be perceived, I would hope, in a positive manner. I particularly agreed with what she was saying about oversharing. Again, the Internet is seen my a mass of people, not all of whom you are familar with. It is therefore not a place for intimacy or for sharing “too much information.” You wouldn’t want to completely expose yourself to the public, would you? Also, I hate when my feeds are overwhelemd with one or a group of people. Keeping a presence online is fine but it shouldn’t be taken to the extreme of posting non-stop.

  8. briellebuis

    This article reminded me of the article that we read on etiquette practices on Twitter. Overall, yes, etiquette online is important. But in reality it is impossible to maintain. People are going to say what they want to when they want to. Some websites do track and manage comments, however based on the amount of web traffic someone is bound to read a comment before it can be deleted. I completely agree with over sharing on the internet. I hate when people share stuff over and over to the point where it becomes annoying. It is like advertising on line, no one enjoys it.This post really combines many of the posts that we have read over the past few weeks, it is a combination with the etiquette post along with the article about commenting on other peoples web pages. Overall, it is just hard to maintain etiquette on the internet because you cannot control other people.

  9. karencronin

    I agree with you that a lot of the “rules” in the article seemed obvious. But maybe it’s good to put them out there every once in a while so people see them again. Because even though it’s obvious to many, there are still a whole bunch of people who disregard all the rules. The author, Grace Bonney, talks about acting towards others the way you want to be treated. This is appropriate for social media as well as well as face to face. A couple of the bloggers talked about stepping back for a second before putting something on social media that might offend or hurt someone or start an online brawl. It’s a good practice I think. If we stop and think for a moment we may decide not to react and we will be better for it. I think we would appreciate if someone did this before reacting negatively towards us. Bonney, as well as many of the bloggers, expressed that online platforms are supposed to be fun and engaging. The general consensus of the bloggers was be positive, be polite and be inspiring. I think this sums up what social media should be. When people go onto an online social platform, it’s to see what pictures friends are posting on Facebook, or what interesting recipes are being pinned on Pinterest, or what interesting books someone is reading on a book blog. We are all going there to enrich and/or entertain ourselves. That’s it! No one is going on to engage in arguing or mudslinging. If everyone kept that in mind when going onto social media, it would be a much happier place!

  10. jordannao

    The lists that the author provided seems very obvious to us that are constantly blogging in our own blogs and are more social diverse online. However, it is important to remember that not everyone like us is aware of these do and dont’s of the internet. Some people need to be told exactly in words things that are right and things that are wrong. I believe that the most important aspect of this article was the idea to keep the blog relevant to what your main topic is about. It is extremely easy to run out of the path when blogging especially when you can share whatever. In addition, I believe the author shouldn’t tell what people should and should not do on the blogging platforms since that loses the whole meaning of blogging. I believe that the author needs to understand as well, that everyone acts very differently and have very different personalities.

  11. Yadybel

    I kind of agree and I kind of disagree. I wouldn’t say that the Internet is like the real world; if anything, the Internet is a world of it’s own. Yeah I am sure that karma may come and bite the person in the buttocks one day but to be honestly we may never know. It is easy to do all the wrong things on the Internet because we are not faced with immediate consequences or physical confrontation from others. It is much easier to insult others on the Internet than it is in person because in person the responses to your actions are immediate and unpredictable. It is true that the list is demonstrates obvious rules we should follow but just because they are obvious doesn’t mean we all follow them. I think it is important for the author to point out these obvious rules to clearly state the obvious and to demonstrate how often we break these simple rules. One of the rules I definitely agreed with is follow your purpose. Whether you are commenting or blogging something it should be relevant. There is nothing I hate more than going onto YouTube and reading comments on things that have nothing to do with the video or stupid spam comments telling you to go visit their channel (people like this should be banned from the internet). Another thing she mentioned in her list that caught my eye is that “not everything is personal”. We all know that on the Internet people tend to a lot more blunt than in person so we should expect more raw comments. If some person from Idaho is telling you that your stupid because you don’t agree with what they are saying….SO WHAT! They don’t know you, so why should you take what they say to heart. I wouldn’t say I agree with everything both you and she says but I will admit the topic for this article is actually interesting.

  12. ktomiak25

    firstly i am trying to do this on my phone so bear with me (also its no letting me finish at the end.. you should have a basic friendship with a guest blogger and know them better than a basic google search in my opinion) i am so conflicted with what is and isnt acceptable online. if you post something on the web you should expect feedback in a public forum, but at what point does it cross the line by being too far critical? its okay to voice your opinion in an insightful way. being mean is just uncalled for and unnecessary online and borders on bullying. also if you have

  13. tedrihn

    The whole internet etiquette thing, to me, is just one extreme fighting the other. I never see someone who uses correct grammar most of the time suddenly get upset because another isn’t using correct grammar. It’s always a “grammar Nazi” getting upset at others because they think that grammar is sacred and shouldn’t be messed up. I feel as though the online world is a social media universe that is meant for everyone and anyone to express themselves. How they do that is entirely up to them and shouldn’t be poked at or molded to someone else’s idea of perfect. If you want to talk like a 9 year old who just got her first cellphone then be my guest. I might not want to see your posts because I have a different opinion on how to write, and for that reason might defriend or unfollow you, but I am not going to pressure and verbally abuse you because of incorrect grammar. Even if I was a saint and wrote in perfect grammar, what gave me the right to become the grammar police and say that how you live and write is wrong? Nothing because it’s your text and your property so you may do with it as you please.

  14. lisak0

    The internet is like the real world in a way. People interact daily, and there are a lot of news stories that constantly upload. People should portray proper etiquette though. It should be common sense, but a lot of people lack it and feel like they can go off and be rude to others. I also had a friend like yours who was the same. Nice in person but so rude online. I wish people were more nice!! They don’t realize (or maybe they do!) that their IP address can get tracked down and that it’s not safe being rude… some people may go the extreme and start arguments.

    With the blogging content, I agree that it should stay in line. It should have one focus point. If the content is not relative, I feel lost. It sort of bothers me when people digress too much. I feel like there needs to be one set idea. People should know that their readers are hoping for something that is similar to what they originally planned to write. People crave for the same posts… the blogger should keep a similar tone as well. Let your readers know if you’re cynical or going to be sarcastic the whole time. I get a kick out of bloggers who have this tone, but others get offended. Also with commenters, people should let themselves be known for being sarcastic and comedic.

    Oversharing is actually pretty annoying… at first, it’s not bad. I don’t mind seeing the same photo a few times if it’s uploaded by different people. But if it is over shared, it gets so annoying… If someone uses photos without credit and claim it’s theirs, it’s worse! Users should always give credit for work that is not theirs. On Instagram I see this a lot… people screenshot and save other’s posts and pose themselves as being the user, which I don’t understand why. So many “fake” Instagram users are out there trying to gain a lot of followers.

    You are correct; don’t hate, appreciate!

  15. Megan Murray

    Of course these rules seemed obvious to us, because they are common sense for what feels “right.” But it’s also common knowledge that people can easily say what’s right or wrong, while it’s a lot harder to actually act on what’s right or wrong.

    I feel like everyone has a problem with this topic: behavior standards for people on the internet. Honestly the reason why I think this is so difficult for us is because there are no “Rules.” It all goes back to morals, which are human created thoughts and ideas of what is “right” and “wrong.” While it’s easy to say that the internet should have the same rules as talking to someone in person, should it really? The internet is a brand new medium, something completely new to us, and it is evolving every day. Really, the way we are behaving now is what is setting the standards for accepted behavior on the internet. For example, username “JoeShmoe” comments over the internet “Fucking retarded as shit!” And the majority of viewers read the comment and think “ugh, one of those people.” As opposed to if someone acted like that in person, yelling “Fucking retarded as shit!” from their auditorium seat at a presentation. It would be appalling, and in no way tolerated by anyone

    I do believe that people on the internet are way “meaner” than they should be because they are protected by anonymity; however, sometimes we need to accept that all forms of communication are not created equal.

  16. dmhgs

    Wouldn’t it be nice if people on the internet would follow that simple philosophy of “don’t hate appreciate”? It would make the online community a much nicer and, yes, even safer place for people to go. There have been people in my newsfeed on Facebook who have posted very opinionated posts on very controversial topics and whenever they do all I can think of is “Why are you posting this?” Sure you can have your opinion but it’s almost like they are asking for an argument to occur. I personally hate it. I haven’t ever posted anything like that and never will. I will also try not to contribute to any of those arguments either, it’s hard though because it just pulls you in.

    On that note I wanted to talk a bit more about tone. I agree with the idea of “if you don’t like it don’t read it” but I also feel like writers should be more conscious about what they write online. I feel that because it is such an impersonal medium to write on things can get skewed. I’m sure you’ve all encountered it before as well while message someone. You might type something just to bring up a point and might not even be angry about it but whoever received it suddenly takes great offense to it. You quite literally have a tone of voice through words on a screen and it is very different from the tone of voice you would have used in person. So yeah… my advice is to just try and be more conscious of that.

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