The Ins and Outs of Online Work Etiquette

A friend of mine suggested I practice some digital decorum at work--what many refer to to as “Netiquette.” If you'd like, go ahead and take a makeshift netiquette quiz here and find out if you're a connoisseur.

To honor my friend's recommendation, I've compiled a quick list of not-so-hard-and-fast rules I usually apply when I communicate through online. Feel free to add your own best practices, amend, or shoot down some of mine:

  1. Cc'ing someone by accident on off-the-cuff e-mail messages is a major faux pas—especially if you cc exactly the person you don't want eying your e-mail just then—but it happens to the best of us. Digital contretemps will inevitably ensue. Own up to your mistake and be honest. Let the rest run its course.
  2. E-mailing is the way to go when you are introducing yourself formally. When you feel the working relationship has progressed satisfactorily, you will be ready to move up to the next level: IM’ing.
  3. Join your workplace network on Facebook.
  4. Relationship statuses on Facebook can be a major cause of embarrassment and emotional burn. After all, you don’t want to be listed as “in a relationship” and have your significant other display an “it’s complicated” or a “whatever I can get” (especially if you have work contacts on there). Taking the step to update your status on Facebook is a big deal—make sure you do it in tandem with your significant other (cheesy but a a safe call).
  5. Web browser histories don’t necessarily define a person. However, don’t go looking anywhere shady that you might feel could come back and bite you—unless you remember to clear your cache, that is.
  6. If you have a personal blog that people sometimes check in on, do not post more than once a day (unless it’s a quick, short post). People are not that interested. Don’t smear others on your blog or drag your personal life into your posts, either.
  7. Don’t overload IM messages with emoticons. They’re super annoying and act as stumbling blocks for hurried eyes. However, feel free to sprinkle your messages with acronyms, and be sure to keep your messages short and to the point.
  8. Always send screengrabs and callouts whenever these might speed up communication.
  9. Don’t ask a question on IM off the bat—make sure the person you are reaching out to is on the other end by starting off with a quick “yt?” or “hey.”
  10. Don’t go off on someone online, especially with all caps. If things get heated, pick up the phone.
So do any of the above seem familiar? Am I on the right track? What form of online work etiquette do you apply?


Luisa said...

Tambien es importante tener cuidado con el uso del humor en los correos o IM. Es dificil leer el sarcasmo o algunas bromas sin los tonos orales adecuados. Se puede prestar para mal entendidos.

John Greiner-Ferris said...

dang, i blow #6 right out of the water...

Rosalia said...

yo recomendaria tener una direccion de IM diferente para el trabajo que la personal. Creo que es importante mantener cierta privacidad y ademas no causar una situacion incomoda si uno cambia de lugar de trabajo o no queda en las mejores relaciones.

Luis said...

What about personal messages (right next to the name) on IM? I very much dislike them, particularly when they're awfully long and give useless information... and the worst part is i can't avoid reading them!

RyanB said...

I feel weird joining my workplace network on Facebook. I've been on it so long, and it just feels so personal... is that just me?

Gustavo C said...

Yo bloqueaba a los contactos del trabajo en grupo apenas salia de mis dias de trabajo. Para un internetholico como yo es totalmente necesario. Ahora que renuncié, voy a dejar a los necesarios y todos los demas los bloqueo pero sin borrarlos de la lista del todo... por si acaso.
Lo de comenzar la relacion laboral solo por correo electronico y luego avanzar al IM's, aplicaria en ciertos ambientes no en otros. No tener al Jefe inmediato en MSN podria considerarse una falta si tenes a todos los otros companer@s de trabajo agregados.

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