etiquette on the internet

We herald social media as a social equaliser which opens the floodgates for opinions to be heard and progress to be made. We are all so ‘social media savvy.’

Why then, can any given hour browsing the comments and conversation on social media leave one with the impression that society as we know it is crumbling?

Some examples which made me shudder recently:

1.A girl I know (we’ll call her X) made a public, well-written comment to music festival organiser Big Day Out on their Facebook page. She eloquently criticised the technicians encouraging a girl who the giant screen had zoomed in on, to “Get em out” by putting these words on the screen when the camera was on her. I didn’t see what happened next, but it didn’t matter. She criticised them for encouraging this behaviour at a supposedly family friendly all ages vent, commenting that not only was it inappropriate pressure for anyone of any age, but if it was someone underage it was even worse.

Of course there would be some to agree and some to disagree. Countless bogans commented rudely, personally attacking  X’s physical appearance based on her profile picture and made assumptions about her personality. They were rude and personally attacked someone they’d never met for having a different opinion to them. It was disgusting ( so was their spelling and grammar). Luckily X knew better than to take anything a Zyzz wannabe said too seriously.

2. A friend of mine passed away, in a public and tragic accident. Not only did juvenile teens make pranks on social media about the incident, but people from across the country who knew nothing about the incident or the girl, made ridiculous, hurtful, entirely unfounded and sometimes disgusting comments. Someone had died. A family had lost their little girl. People didn’t care. They wanted to add their two cents and they did it on her tribute page. It was totally inappropriate, obnoxious and callous in every sense of the word.

3. Look anywhere that has garnered attention on social media and look at the hate. Don’t look for too long.
human head with social media

Is this what we do with free speech and a platform? We abuse it? We turn into keyboard warriors and make personal attacks on people we’ve never even met? Does a person mean less when they’re on the Internet?

Modern Rules of Online Etiquette

  1. Never write something that you wouldn’t say to someone’s face
  2. Would you be proud to have your comment on a billboard? With your name on it?
  3. Stop trolling, it’s juvenile, predictable and boring
  4. Champion the causes important to you that need a voice. Do it while respecting others’ opinions
  5. Don’t spam news feeds with your opinion – champion it, but respect that its a shared platform
  6. Criticise, question and exercise your intelligent mind and freedom of speech. But  do it eloquently and respectfully. Your opinion will count for a lot more if you don’t look like a raging lunatic.
  7. Learn to spell or use spellcheck. It’s built into most browsers so there is really no excuse.
  8. Learn the difference between their, they’re and there. Where and were and wear. To and too. No and know. Knew and new. Do you want anyone to take you seriously?
  9. Re-read before you hit Enter. See point 1 and 2.
  10. Give people a break before you bring out your flaming torch and pitchfork. They’re only human.

What do you think? Is there anything you’d add? 


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