With so many people online it’s no wonder they often don’t know how their actions and interactions shape their lives and affect others. Future employers will likely do an online search for you to determine whether or not they want to hire you. Others want to steal your identity or maybe pick a fight with you over something that doesn’t actually matter all that much. With this in mind, here are a list of nine tips on how you can be a good citizen online, to better influence your real life interactions.
Nine Tips on Being a Good Online Citizen:
1.) Respect others and the website/social media you’re using. Even if you don’t agree with someone’s thoughts, you don’t need to start or fuel an online argument. Before you post an argument, take the time to pause and reflect on whether or not it’s worth it.
2.) Don’t type everything in all caps. This is seen as yelling and most people don’t like to be yelled at, including you, right?
3.) Know who you’re connecting with before you act. Be wary of websites and emails that ask you to act immediately, want personal information, include links you don’t recognize, have offers that seem too good to be true, or ask you to send money to someone you don’t know.
4.) Don’t plagiarize. Give credit where credit is due. Someone worked hard on that essay or article. It’s one thing to borrow a section and quote the source where you found it, and quite another to ignore the original creator’s hard work.
5.) Keep your personal information private. Strangers online do not need to know your address, phone number, birth date, or your email address, any of which could be used to steal your identity.
6.) Don’t gossip. Just because something is true, doesn’t mean it needs to be repeated. Gossip can often be hurtful to others, whether they know it’s happening or not. Think back, would you want someone gossiping about you?
7.) Watch your language/don’t post inappropriate pictures or comments. This could be very hurtful to others, whether they’re your closest friends or not. Once something is posted, you cannot take it back. If you’re unsure what’s appropriate, think about someone in authority, someone you respect, or an employer viewing what you’re about to post. If the thought makes you uncomfortable, don’t do it.
8.) Don’t give out passwords, even to friends. Once you give your passwords out, your accounts and content are no longer just yours.
9.) Remember that it’s easy to take things the wrong way*. Because it is difficult to convey the spirit of a written statement, a post meant as a joke, or gentle teasing, can really upset someone who takes it seriously. Adding emoticons or LOL doesn’t always help either. It’s always good to think about how your joke could be taken before you post it, and as a reader, before you respond, remember you may not understand the spirit of the comment.
These nine tips were pulled from the following sources, which offer more tips and information about digital etiquette and online safety, if you’re interested.
*This blog post and tip #9 was inspired by this recent event.