Inconsiderately Polite

College Students' Views on Etiquette Online

Reflections

This blog post is all about reflecting on the work I did for my Intro to Writing Arts course. I begin with an explanation of one of my PechaKucha slides. Afterword, there’s a section where I write about all the things I learned about etiquette on the web throughout my blogging experience. Enjoy!

A Walk Through A Slide

My section as a whole was about how proper etiquette on the internet is about being yourself. I talked about how this is easier to do online when you’re behind a screen, and how we become braver and more honest. Although I mentioned the darker aspects of this, I mainly wanted to focus on how this freedom and expectation to be who we are can be a good thing. My fourth slide  especially talks about this. It’s all about the new communities being built on the web based off common interests. This is why I bring in Kelly’s “We are the Web,” which speaks in great detail about the way most of the content on the web is created by us. We are free to be ourselves and find others who are like us. We can create friendships that last for years while also realizing that maybe there’s a place for us to fit in after all. I also brought up that although we should be ourselves, the concept of our identity is much looser on the internet.  As I said in my presentation, I can be Sarah the college student and Sarah the fairy princess zombie huntress and both can be “me” depending on where I am. Are the things I have a character say in a role-playing game any less real than the status updates I post on Facebook? Both are an image I am trying to create and maintain–one is just significantly less entertaining.

faecoloredThat “self-portrait” I drew obviously is meant to portray me being a faerie princess zombie huntress (I really love typing that out–it’s just so ridiculous). But it’s more than that. It’s a symbol of the imagination we are allowed to express and the worlds we can create for ourselves and others. These worlds have their own sets of rules and etiquette within them, and it’s an amazing thing. We no longer have to take a trip to the library or the bookstore to go to different places–though I definitely still recommend it–we can go on the web and create them ourselves building with others new magical places. Of course, it’s still important to follow the rules we make for ourselves. We can’t have our worlds descend into chaos, can we? (Unless that’s what you want them to do). This very act of creation is what fits so well with “We are the Web.”

What I Learned About My Blog Topic

I’ve obviously thought about etiquette before, and I know that it’s one part of the web that can use some fine-tuning. I hadn’t, however, thought very hard about it on my own before this blog assignment. Mostly it was getting annoyed at hateful comments on the internet or cringing when I see Facebook posts that are outside of the unwritten code of conduct, like when you can tell people clicked the wrong link and now their account is spamming everyone on their friends list, bless their poor little hearts. I don’t know if blogging about “netiquette” and researching it taught me something new. It was more like it made me think about it in new ways. I made connections with the readings for class. Atwood’s blog post, for example, made me think about how etiquette online is way different than it is offline, and in some ways it’s better. The readings “We are the Web,” “What is Web 2.0,” and “An Anthropological Introduction to Youtube” all made me realize that netiquette isn’t something defined by the creators of beg websites. Don’t get me wrong, websites have terms of service that allow them to take action against rule-breakers, but those only go so far—especially since nobody reads them. For the most part, the ones who create and enforce these codes of conduct are us. We support and we punish.

On the other hand, these readings and my own reminded me that not everything online is unicorns and rainbow magic. “A Rape in Cyberspace” reminds us that people take advantage of the freedom and anonymity on the web and use it to hurt others. In an article I found on Cracked.com, Felix Clay writes about how society has decided it’s pretty much okay to act like jerks on the internet. I never considered this; mostly, I thought there were rules and some people just chose to ignore them and everyone else hated those people. But that article made me thing, hey, maybe the mean terrible things on the internet are a part of netiquette. Maybe we let this happen and now we’re dealing with the consequences. Still, I have hope: not everyone on the web is a jerk. There are those of us who know how to act online and even though we might not be as loud (obnoxious) we are still there.

 

 

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Children and Online Etiquette: What Do They Need To Know?

I began to think about how etiquette online will effect this generation of children that are growing up in this booming age of new technologies.  As it seems, there is no way to avoid the technology that will most likely become a large part of children growing up in this age of evolving technological devices.  As Kevin Kelly states in his article “Becoming Screen Literate” that, “Everywhere we look, we see screens.”  It is becoming a part of our culture.   Children need to be aware of etiquette online, also known as “netiquette,” because it directly affects them and is going to be a daily part of their lives.

While it may be easier for children growing up in this age of technology to adapt to new technologies because they have seen it since they were young, they may not know all of the “netiquette” rules.  As Laila Weir states it the article “Behaveyourself.com:  Online Manners Matter” that, “Understanding how to interact online safely and effectively is, and will be, ever more critical.  As today’s students grow older, they’ll be using the Internet to apply to colleges and jobs, and to communicate with colleagues.”  Children and students in this generation will be more likely to use the Internet to do these types of activities.  How they act online, what they say, and how they portray themselves will matter.  It is a different world now because it used to be that you did a lot of tasks, like applying for a job, by interacting face to face.  The person could interpret what you were saying easier because they could directly hear and see you.  Nowadays, people are using the Internet to apply to jobs and communicate with others.  It can be hard to tell if you are saying something in a certain way online, through an email or message, because people cannot read your body language or hear your voice directly.  People may take what you say in a different way than you intended.  This is why as Weir states, “Yet our children, however much they seem to have been born with iPods growing out their ears, haven’t learned to handle digital communications by osmosis, any more than they innately knew how to write a resume or hold a fork.”  So, even though children are using technology at a young age, they are not innately born with the online etiquette skills that are so important in this day and age.

With this in mind, I think that parents and educators need to begin to teach children what netiquette is, especially when they begin to use social networking sites.  It needs to be known that what you post online can have consequences and come back and affect you in the future.  I think that being careful about what you post on social media sites, or say about others, is one of the biggest etiquette rules to follow.  Children and students need to be able to communicate online in an effective manner because, let’s face it, we are turning into a culture of screens and technology.  A lot of things done face-to-face can now be done online, and it seems to be the most natural way for this generation of children and students to communicate.  With guidance about what the rules of etiquette online are, I think that this generation growing up in this booming and evolving world of technology, can use it to their advantage, communicate effectively, and learn how to appropriately present themselves online.

Here’s a site that you can use to help teach children about manners and etiquette online:  http://www.commonsensemedia.org/advice-for-parents/manners-digital-age

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Perhaps the Bird?

I’ll admit: when I first found out I had to give up Facebook for a week, I was pretty cocky about it. I’d gone without it for much longer before and I barely even missed it. I figured, hey, I use Tumblr more often anyway, this is going to be a breeze.

And in certain aspects, it was. I have gone the week successfully without checking Facebook once. I deleted the app from my phone and took down the shortcut from Chrome. I didn’t go through withdrawal like an addict, unable to sleep dreaming of my next fix, feeling imaginary ants crawling all over my skin (is that even a symptom of withdrawal..?). But, I have to say, I’m happy I’m getting it back tomorrow. See, what made not having Facebook hard was the fact that I’ve come to depend on it for communication in a lot of ways. Three of my friends and I have this ongoing chat affectionately titled “Coven de brujas” (de brujas meaning of witches in Spanish), the last of many inside jokes.

That became the easiest way to contact three of my closest friends for a whole bunch of things. As I’m from North Jersey, two of the chat members live far away, so this chat became the closest thing we have to hanging out together in real life. Sometimes we’d send a link to something moronic and anger-inducing so we can share how mad we are with each other. Other times, it’s asking for an opinion, and I’ve even posted written assignments for them to proofread. It was this chat that I missed the most this past week. I would find myself wanting to share something with them, but when I realized I couldn’t post it on the chat, I felt at a loss. There wasn’t a convenient way to send them all a link and have their shared response. The most recent example I can thing of is this necklace: I wanted to buy it, but I couldn’t choose between the bird or the cage.

birdorcage

Without facebook, I had to settle for other methods of communication. I ended up texting them, but that took away the option to send them to the listing itself.

This example probably seems like a minor inconvenience, and it was. Honestly, that’s what not having Facebook for a week was: a minor inconvenience.

A day after I stopped using the site, I got a haircut. It was a pretty dramatic change in length, and I was feeling a bit insecure about it. What I wanted to do, as everyone does when they change their appearance somehow, was post a picture to Facebook to show it off. I thought maybe a few likes would help me feel more confident about my new hair, but then I remembered I couldn’t. Along with the times I missed the Coven De Brujas, this was the only time I really missed Facebook. I eventually settled for posting a picture on Instagram and on Tumblr, and I did end up getting a few likes and comments, and I did feel better about it.

This week has shown me that I don’t really need Facebook, but I’m still glad to get it back.

P.S.

I still haven’t decided on whether I want the bird or the cage, so feel free to leave a comment with your suggestions!

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779 Hideously Lucky Individuals

Book cover, American Gods

Book cover, American Gods (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors. In general, his works are fantasy and incredibly witty. But if Lord of the Rings isn’t your cup of tea, don’t worry, his work is very modern and would better be described as urban fantasy, which is probably the best sub-genre out there (in my humble opinion). I’ve laughed out loud many times while reading his novels. He’s best known for American Gods, or at least it seems that way because that’s the book everybody recommends. And if you haven’t read it, I highly suggest you do. It is definitely in my top 5, which you should know is a very selective list. And if you know the movie Stardust, well, it was based off his short book with the same title. He is also responsible for The Sandman comic series which I haven’t personally read but it seems pretty amazing.

I follow Neil Gaiman both on twitter and on tumblr. Really, his books are only part of the reason I love him so much. Seeing him on social networking sites, I’ve watched him give invaluable advice to aspiring writers like myself, as well as talk about his personal life, like his relationship with his wife, Amanda Palmer (they’re very adorable). And even beyond that, there was his recent, inspirational graduation speech. If you haven’t heard it, I highly recommend taking the time to listen to it. It blew me away when I did. I’m not ashamed to admit that it made me cry—more than that, it was the main thing that pushed me to continue down the path of becoming a writer. See, when you tell people you’re a writing major, mostly they just ask “What for?” It’s worse when I say I want to write books. I’m usually met with: “Okay, but what do you want to do?” Okay, I would think, I can’t be a novelist; it’s not realistic. What else is there for me? Quite frankly, there’s nothing I really want, and as I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, this has been a great source of anxiety for me. But when I listened to Gaiman’s speech, it really hit me. Yes, writing is exactly what I want to do. I have to “make good art.” Nothing else will do.

Surprisingly, the actual point of this blog post is actually not to gush about how wonderful Neil Gaiman is. I’m actually supposed to be analyzing who he follows on Twitter, so let me do just that.

Gaiman follows 779 people as I write this. It’s nothing compared to the almost two million people following him, but it’s still a lot more than a lot of other famous people follow. Like many of us, a lot of the people he follows have that blue check mark of authenticity, although a greater amount do not. Much of the list consists of writers, actors, artists, and musicians, although mostly they seem to be writers of various kinds. Of the writers, most specify that they are fantasy/sci-fi authors. Very few of the bios I scrolled past did not make any claims at being an artist, and most of those had silly phrases like “A comedian from the 90s. Capable of almost 12 facial expressions though I rarely use more than 4 of them.” Honestly, I don’t think I’ve scrolled farther than two names without seeing another artist. There are a few fans sprinkled in, such as the girl with this bio: ”

  • I just love reading, that’s a fact… Oscar Wilde, Jane Austen and Neil Gaiman are my favs…”

I can only imagine how she screamed when she saw him on her followers.

Gaiman’s “following” list suggests, very obviously, that he is very committed to the arts. This makes sense, seeing as how he is an artist himself. Yet, it would be very easy to isolate himself, but he doesn’t. The people he follows, as well as his tweets and tumblr posts, show that Gaiman participates with the writer community all around him. He seems to value this community, and he contributes to it while also showcasing the contributions of others. It is the embodiment of the writer as a social creature, and idea I’ve written about previously in this Intro to Writing Arts course. Also it shows that he cares about his wife, who he follows and retweets very often. Did I mention that they’re adorable?

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Face(book)less self

Facebook has become such a big part of my life. One of the first things I do when I wake up in the morning, and one of the last things I do before I go to sleep in check my Facebook Newsfeed. While some people may view this as obsessive, there are plenty of other people that are more obsessed than I am. For my Introduction to Writing Arts class, one of the assignments was to stop using Facebook for a week.  I never thought I would be able to go a day, let alone a whole week, without Facebook. To my surprise, within two days of not using it, I didn’t miss it

Facebook logo

Facebook logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

However, I have found that the amount of time I spend on other social media sites, such as Twitter and Instagram, has increased. One would think that with all the extra time I have from not scrolling mindlessly through my newsfeed would make me more productive and I would use this extra time for things that really matters, like homework, but that’s not the case. I also have found that the amount of text messages and phone calls that I make during the day has also increased. This is because one of my main sources of communication has been taken away. Instead of sending that quick Facebook message, I now have to call or text the person that I want to get in touch with. This has brought up a big problem for me. I am extremely close with my family. Of course this week, my parents are in the lovely island of Jamaica…without me. With no desire to pay International calling fees, my parents told me to contact them through Facebook if I needed anything. Well, as of Thursday, that plan went out the window. I wonder what my parents are thinking… “We go away for one vacation without her and she won’t talk to us,” “She must be having so much fun without us nagging her every two seconds.” Well, Mom and Dad, if you’re reading this, I promise that I miss you guys, I’m just not allowed to use the only communication device we have for the next week, SORRY! BTW, I can’t see all the wonderful beach pictures you are posting, so I’m not jealous of your vacation…yet…

One of the most interesting things that I have gotten out of this experiment is to see my family, friends, and peers reactions. I decided to take this a step further and completely deactivate my account for the week. While I got countless phone calls and text messages asking whether my boyfriend and I broke up (our names are no longer linked, since I deactivated the account), or why I haven’t answered the group chat with my friends, I realized that the picture that had once been attached to my name on all of my friends walls from comments, pictures, posts, etc, is now gone. I am, in fact, Face(book) less. I do not have a Facebook for the next 3 days, but even more, I no longer have a face on that social media site. This should be an important aspect for this blog on permanence to address. Sure, all my information, pictures, and videos are still out there on the internet, but when I deactivate my Facebook, what happens to those things? Where do they go? I know that it is possible to reactive my Facebook by just signing into the site, and suddenly all my things are back. But where do they go when my account is deactivated? It’s kind of a strange thing to think about, but for now, I’m happy with my week without Facebook. Maybe my obsession with checking my newsfeed every 2 minutes will diminish after this week is over. But then again, I’m a college student who looks for anything to use as a form of procrastination…so probably not.

This is a video of a guy that stopped using Facebook for a week, too! A Week Without Facebook

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What’s Up with Etiquette Online These Days?

With all the new forms of communication available to us today, there are so many different opinions on what the appropriate etiquette is when using them.  In a post on the blog Gigaom called “The Future of Online Etiquette is Already Here-It’s Just Unevenly Distributed” written by Matthew Ingram he says, “As anyone who has missed an important email knows by now, modern communications etiquette is a minefield of unspoken expectations and potential anxiety-inducing behavior.”  This quote perfectly sums up the issues with modern etiquette these days.  We are so unsure of the ways in which to behave online because it is not written out in a rule book.  We are left to guess what the expectations are, which can lead to people being stressed out about what to do, and then writing something online that they regret.  Part of the problem is that “we have more competing forms of communication available to us than ever before-and not only are different people at different stages in their evolution from one to the other, but people also use then for very different purposes.”

There comes new types of etiquette with each new form of communication, and with all the new forms of communication that are growing and evolving, it can be hard to keep up with all the new etiquette practices.  As mentioned above, not only are different communications evolving, but people are evolving at different stages through them.  The younger generations are quicker to adapt to new forms of communication, like Twitter, so they pick up on the etiquette practices at a faster pace.  Older generations may only just be getting comfortable with the communications and not be aware of all the etiquette practices involved.  In a blog by Thomas Farley, also known as Mr. Manners, he says in the post “How to Lose Friends and Alienate People” that, “one in five people have lessened their contact with someone in real life on account of a virtual argument.”  So what is appropriate to post online, especially if you know it will offend someone?

It is hard to say because you never know who will get offended.  I think that people feel more inclined to post these things because they are behind a screen.  What they don’t get is that people still can get offended whether it is said online or in person.  Do people understand that they are offending someone or do they not know the etiquette rules?  It is hard to say, and I’m sure it goes both ways.  Some people are probably aware that they are posting rude comments or acting inappropriately on a certain site, but others may not even realize it.  We have to realize though that the scope of the Internet is so large that there probably is someone who will be offended.  Mr. Manners sums it up nicely by saying, “The time is now for all of us to make a commitment to being nicer when we log on.  Think twice before you post…if you wouldn’t say it face-to-face don’t say it monitor-to-monitor.”  This is just one piece of advice that can help all of us online.  While I think it will take a long time for people to catch on to all the online etiquette practices, being nicer online is something we can all do, no matter what age or stage in the evolution of communication we are in.  It just takes little steps to improve our etiquette online, and I think that being nicer is certainly a start.

etiquette

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Online Etiquette: The Do’s and Dont’s

Never in a million years did I ever think that online etiquette would be such a problem. For the most part, people seem to know how to handle things in person, but when it comes to hiding behind a computer screen, that’s when the fists go flying. The problem with etiquette online is that not everyone agrees on how to use all the different ways we can now communicate with each other. Are there too many ways to communicate? Yes and no. Not everyone uses Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc; so there needs to be other ways for these people to communicate. However, the problem with the immense amounts of communication devices is that there are different people using each one. There are different purposes for each type of communication, which means that each different type has its own type of etiquette. Each person has their own views on what they can or cannot do on a social media site, or form of communication. According to Mathew Ingram in his blog post entitled, “The future of online etiquette is already here—it’s just unevenly distributed, “the biggest challenge for modern etiquette is that we have so many different forms of communication available to us now, but no everyone agrees on how or when it is appropriate to use them.” It is true that it took years for my mother to start using Facebook. My mom is not the most social person in the world, so it took a while for her to get used to the

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

fact that she could be in constant contact with friends, family, or former peers. The thing that got her to use Facebook was the game “Words with Friends.” However, because she was on Facebook, she was posting embarrassing things on my wall. After confronting her about it, I realized she had no idea that everyone I was friends with could see the things she was posting. That’s when I got to thinking, “How is it that newcomers to social media know what the formal etiquette of the site is?” The answer: they don’t; until their child yells at them for posting something about their dirty clothes being all over the floor. Something so harmless seemed like the biggest thing in the world to me, because I knew my mom did not know how to act on Facebook. On the other hand, there are thousands of people commenting on news articles on websites like CNN. Some of these comments are rude, nasty, and appalling. If these people are posting comments every day, they certainly aren’t newcomers. Why don’t they know that what they are posting is not appropriate? Why are they above the rules of online etiquette? Well, this is for them:

 

The Dos and Don’ts of Online Etiquette

 

  1. According to an article on Reputation.com, it is important to remember the Golden Rule. “When you’re sitting in front of a computer screen, it can be hard to empathize with the people you’re talking to online. In real life, you wouldn’t brazenly insult someone to his or her face (hopefully), so why do it on the Web?”
  2. Take responsibility for the words that you are writing. If you feel that strongly about a topic, don’t hide behind a fake name and pretend like it wasn’t you who posted the comment. Stand up for what you believe and take credit for it.
  3. Promote good online etiquette behaviors. Teach your children, family, friends, or colleagues the proper way to post things online. Be proud that you follow online etiquette rules!

netiquette

I know I won’t be able to inspire the entire online world to follow the rules of etiquette when online, but if I can inspire one, it’s a pretty good start!

Here is another list of Top 10 “Netiquette” Rules that should be followed!

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New Technologies, New Etiquette

Our world is transforming into one where we are more and more involved online and in virtual communities.  Science has allowed, as Vannevar Bush writes in the article “As We May Think,” for, “the swiftest communication between individuals” (2).  This fast communication is seen in the evolution of the computer, and as Bush further writes, “knowledge evolves and endures throughout the life of a race rather than that of an individual” (2).    This made me think that if there is such vast knowledge that can spread quickly because of the fast communication that the computer has now provided, then how does our etiquette online impact and influence people?  Also, how aware do we need to be of what we are doing online because it does affect more than just us?  I think that we need to remember that what we are writing online impacts and influences more than just us, and that what we write can spread quickly with the development and efficiency of the computer.  Where we are at with technology is probably not where we will stay because new technologies are evolving that we may not know about yet.  With these new technologies, there will be new implications for how we should act online with the development of new technologies.  Even though Bush was writing this in 1945, he surely is ahead of his time, with the prediction of a machine that can store and access all types of information easily and quickly, which would later become the computer.  Now with the computer we can access information in ways that we could have never imagined and create worlds that were once unthinkable.

Now we can easily and quickly access all types of information and be a part of various virtual communities while taking on different identities.  This is one of the points that Sherry Turkle discusses in her article “Who Am We?  She talks about the lives of people who assume different online identities that are different from their own real life selves (1-12).  Turkle says in the article that, “the Internet links millions of people in new spaces that are changing the way we think and the way we form our communities” (1).  Because the Internet links us to so many people in many different places, we need to be aware of how we act, depending on the people we are interacting with.  Different communities elicit different etiquette practices.  If you were in a professional online community, you would want to be polite and talk about such things as work, where in an online SIM game you may talk more about personal issues and be more informal.  Also, the ideas of people creating different identities (that may or may not resemble their true self) also lend to the issue of etiquette practices online.  As Turkle mentions, “slippages often occur in places where personal and self merge, where the multiple personae join to compromise what the individual thinks of as his or her authentic self” (6).  So, people may create multiple online identities to showcase the different parts of themselves or to create personas to act in ways they wish they did in real life.  Do people feel that they can behave this way because it is in a virtual world?  How should we act in a virtual world?  Is it acceptable that people are deceiving others through different identities and how much do other people really care?  As Margaret Atwood says in the article “Atwood in the Twittersphere” that “you’re always saying things you shouldn’t have said” (1).  So, with new technologies etiquette practices may change, and because of way the Internet links us to so many people around the world, we need to be careful and conscious how we act online.

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Inconsiderately Polite

College Students' Views on Etiquette Online

Identifying John Doe

Do you really know who you're talking to?

Safety In The Machine

Welcome to the Jungle

Always There, Never Gone

Being unchanged indefinitely.