Understanding netiquette guidelines when communicating on the World Wide Web with friends, family and business associates can be extremely important. With such a diverse subsection of the population using email applications such as Yahoo mail or Microsoft Outlook, it is important you conduct yourself appropriately when communicating by email. Composing text messages via email is the most common form of communication you can use on the web. Netiquette parameters need to be followed so the intended recipient does not misinterpret your communications sent by email correspondence. Even more important for you to consider is that the person on the receiving end has feelings more or less like you.

Proper netiquette guidelines will ensure you do not offend or infringe on the rights of the recipients of your emails. Most individuals consider themselves to fairly law-abiding citizens, but seem to take more chances when working on the Internet because they feel they are untraceable. However, most people forget to consider there is always someone watching, whether it is the intended recipient of the email, your Internet Service Provider or the government. Another useful suggestion for you to consider when using email is to remember to be ethical in cyberspace. If you are tempted to commit an illegal act while using email, chances are it’s also bad netiquette.

Many organizations today offer online training courses for their employees to teach them acceptable behavior when they correspond using email and other online applications. Online training courses or staff development seminars may involve several lessons or short online presentations to inform their staff of appropriate behavior when using email and online programs. Organizations throughout the world rely on netiquette training and online staff training to ensure their employees have proper etiquette while using online programs.

Several netiquette guidelines are listed below:

Sentence Capitalization:

  • Typing in all caps is considered screaming.
  • Various studies have concluded that typing in all caps takes longer and is more difficult to read.
  • Recipient may think you are overly excited

Leaving the subject field blank:

  • Always fill in the subject with a concise statement describing the email.
  • Do not use all caps or put in phrases such as Help or Hi.
  • Failure to follow netiquette guidelines when filling in the subject line of an email may result in your correspondence being discarded as spam.

Colored text and background colors:

  • Use colors sparingly in your emails – whether it is text or fill colors
  • Certain colors can make emails difficult to read.

Forwarding emails or jokes:

  • Send out an email to a group using the blind carbon copy field – BCC does not allow your recipients to view who was sent the email. Mainly a privacy issue for other people in your address book.
  • Do not forward offensive or racially insensitive jokes or comments.
  • Do not forward every email you think is funny or is a chain letter – be selective.

Return receipt request:

  • Allows you to track when the recipient opens your email – you should use this email feature sparingly.
  • Can be very annoying to the recipient of the email.

Grammar and spelling check:

  • Proofread emails for errors
  • Capitalize your sentences and use appropriate punctuation
  • Refrain from using multiple !!!!!!! or ????????

These netiquette guidelines will help to ensure you are courteous and use proper manners while corresponding with your friends, family and business associates. Remember one point – someone is always watching or tracking your emails, just consult Oliver North if you have doubts (deleted emails were used in the Iran Contra proceedings).