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Netiquette

We tend to use computers and devices as our main communication tools these days. While it has been easier to contact people than ever before, there are rules that need to be followed in order to ensure you are communicating clearly and properly with the world around you.

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Basics:

  • Always include a subject line in your email.
  • Address your recipient with a salutation, such as Hello or Greetings.
  • Use a closing message such as Thank you.
  • Sign off on your email. If it is someone who knows you personally, you may just use your first name.  For businesses, instructors or potential employers, use your full name.

Tone:

  • The person you are contacting sets the tone for the language you use.
  • Do not email your instructor or contact a business or potential employer in the same way you would talk to a friend.
  • Avoid slang, text speak (LOL, BRB) and cursing when writing to a professional.

Appearance:

  • When writing to an instructor, business or potential employer, make sure you use proper punctuation.
  • Use the spell check option in your email.
  • Use a clear, reasonable sized font (10-12 pt.) for readability.
  • Avoid using ALL CAPS as that is perceived as shouting online.

Ownership:

  • When writing to someone or commenting online, speak only for yourself not as the group unless every person is signing off on your statement.
  • It is more effective to defend your personal position than to make sweeping generalizations that can easily be dismissed.

Terminology:

  • Refer to people or groups by the terminology they prefer and not those based on personal judgments or biases.
  • This includes use of a person’s preferred pronoun such as he, she, or they when referring to or writing about them.

Length:

  • An email is not the place to tell your life story. Limit yourself to as few characters or paragraphs as possible.
  • If you find that you need more space, attach a letter to your email or request to set up a meeting with that person. A phone call may also be more beneficial.