Dwight Watt - Newspaper Article #17 7/22/2009

Question: What is Netiquette?

Netiquette is using politeness ion the Internet primarily in email to get your message across better. Just as etiquette in regular life tells us how to deal better with people.

It is most often how to improve your communications with e-mail. Although many people use e-mail, many have their messages lost by the receiver or that they fail to get their message over.

The first item, on e-mail is following a few simple rules on the style of your message. First never put your whole message in caps as THIS IS CONSIDERED SCREAMING and also is hard to read. Use your upper and lower case correctly.

Secondly always put a subject on your message and include in the subject a keyword that it relates to. If it is an e-mail about Kiwanis, then put Kiwanis as the first word. When I write my students in my CIS 2149 class I always start with CIS 2149 in the subject line. That way those of us who receive many messages each day see the subject and do not delete it as junk or skip over not realizing what it is.

Third be careful what you put in your message. Remember you still have a copy, the receiver has a copy and it may be backed up several places, and may be on two different servers. A good rule I have used in regards to this is “Don’t put anything in an e-mail that you would not want your mom to read on the front page of the newspaper in the morning beside your name”.

Use your e-mail to keep your members updated on what is happening. It also makes a good way to get information to the press and your political leaders.

If you are forwarding e-mails, clean off all the other people’s names at top of the message. It is hard for people to scroll down thru a long list of previous people to find the message. There are a number of studies I have heard of that say people will not scroll in email or on web pages.

If you are sending your message to a number of people ( I generally define as greater than five) then put their names in the BCC entry and put your e-mail address in the TO entry. Then they only see your name and their name. If we sent a letter via postal mail to 30 people we would not put all 30 names on the letter, so why do it in e-mail?

Make sure you spell-check your message. Most e-mail programs today include spell-checking. Some require you to run it and some check automatically as you send the message.

E-mail is a wonderful tool and we can all improve on what we send in it.

Send me your questions about computers to me at the paper or to my e-mail dwight@dwightwatt.com and tell me you read this in the paper. I will pick a question to answer each week.

(c) 2010 by Dwight Watt
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