Inconsiderately Polite

College Students' Views on Etiquette Online

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, 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!


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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Inconsiderately Polite

College Students' Views on Etiquette Online

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