Good Manners- Internet Manners By Susie Wilson Being kind, courteous, and inviting comes down to one thing: considering other’s well-being. Our society is in need of men and women who act nobly and encourage others to adopt courteous actions and language.
Courteous users of the World Wide Web (WWW) will always be careful to observe the following rules:
As to Themselves • Your online self should reflect your self. • Your online age should reflect your age. • Never embellish your accomplishments. • Don’t use demeaning usernames. • Don’t utilise platforms that advocate or passively disregard offensive behaviour. • Don’t be afraid to share your bad days too. • Behave online in a manner no different from the way you behave offline. • Be honest, truthful, and pure. • Watch your tone. • Never forget the internet doesn’t forget. • Do not use bad language. On Social Media • Ask yourself, Do my followers need this information now? Could it be found easily elsewhere? • Foster online relationships that result in off-line relationships. • Remember listening is often better than speaking. • Contribute with purpose, not noise. • Support your peers. On Commenting • Consider the worth of your comment. • Consider the response of your criticism. • Admit your lack of context, and state your facts. • Invite other opinions. • Don’t hide behind anonymity. • Consider the reputation of the author and yourself. • Watch your tone; especially when writing your comments. • Don’t assume that you can always grasp the tone of another person. • Remember sarcasm doesn’t always translate. On Sharing • Consider the quality of the content you’re about to share. • Give context when context would be helpful. • Invite feedback. • Share where applicable; assist in keeping the web orderly and in place. • Never forget what you share will be seen and read by many different people in many different circumstances; avoid sharing content that celebrates materialism, arrogance, and indulgence. • Some memories you experience with your family and friends are sacred; these memories should not be shared online. Following and Being Followed • Don’t base your self-worth on your followers. • Follow people who treat others with dignity and respect. They’re worth following. • Do not follow bad company. • Follow people who motivate you to be a better person. • Follow people in the industry you serve that make you better at your work or craft. • If you’re a parent, follow people you’d want your children to follow. • Follow people who respectfully challenge your biases. • Don’t ask complicated questions with no intention to engage the answer. When an online debate ends, identify critical takeaways that stem from the dialogue. On Debate • Don’t, whenever possible. • Cite your sources, always. • Only engage in debate in matters in which you’re an expert (experts usually have 10,000 hours or more in a given field). • Invite more personal correspondence when possible. Email is a useful place to start. • Ask more questions. Pursue dialogue, not debate. On Being Present • As often as you can, look up to the real world in front of you, not down into a digital world. • In social settings, default to airplane mode (as much as it’s practical). • No devices at the dinner table. • You can be in one place at one time. Be where you are with who you’re with first. Everywhere • Never be rude to anybody, whether older or younger, richer or poorer, than yourself. • Always strive to understand and share the feelings of another. • Don’t use political ties to pigeonhole complex problems. Remember • Whether face-to-face or screen-to-screen endorse the principle of the Golden Rule, “Always do to others as you would wish them to do to you if you were in their place.” • Empathy wins. Especially online. Epilogue You know the moment…you’re surrounded by friends and family fully engaged with the conversations at hand. Laughter fills the room and a memory that will be talked about for years is being made. As the moment begins to register in your mind, you feel a flutter in your pocket. Everything glorious about your present reality shifts to this buzzing box with a glowing screen trying to pull your attention away from this moment. When we forsake the tangible for the intangible, we’ve failed.
What does technology desire? As human beings living in the 21st century, we must wrestle with this question because our children depend on it and our children’s children. Our reality suggests that cashiers are touch screens, customer service is run by robots, relationships are not real unless displayed online, and to be socially aware online somehow reflects real life. In the face of this, we must boldly proclaim that nothing can take away the substance of looking in someone’s eyes across the table after a productive meeting, a memory made with your family, and being present with people who surround our lives. These kinds of moments are the most valuable gift we can give. These moments are rarely found in the screens we stare at. 2. When we forsake intimacy for publicity, we’ve failed. You and I have been given a megaphone to announce to the world what we’re up to at any given time. As I look back on my life, I am reminded of the millions of moments that have made me who I am today. Conversations with my mother about life lessons are nuggets I take everywhere I go. The thousands of laughs I’ve shared with family and friends are just as Mastercard proclaims: priceless. Moments like these don’t translate to social media because the shared, online world cannot fully capture them for what they are. The intimacy that reveals the fine details of our lives does not always belong on a screen in the hands of an online friend. We all have moments that cannot be explained or shared. Let us be reminded that intimacy is invaluable. As you and I scroll through hundreds of status updates, let us be reminded that our intimacies are too meaningful to share with those who don’t care about them. 3. When we forsake friendship for connections, we’ve failed. Friends are those rare people who ask how you are and then wait for the answer. No matter how many friend requests you send, friendship is rare. When it happens, it can never be taken for granted. Our connections online will never take the place of a friend who arrives in person in the midst of pain.
May we all pursue using technology responsibly in our digital age, leading by example in a resurgence of manners. The internet is a powerful tool that should always be used for good.