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Etiquette in a Virtual World

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Global Community

The more we grow as a global community, we increasingly rely on technology. It seems that there's no turning back now. We use technology for everything; thus, we must ensure we are using it responsibly. Etiquette is defined as the customary code of polite behavior in society or among members of a particular profession or group. As members of this global society, the responsible thing to do is adhere to these standards to render respect for our fellow citizens.

Just as there is a code of acceptable behavior for society, there is also a code for internet behavior. The internet is simply an extension of our society and requires responsible use of it. Some key concepts to remember when online are:

  • Being tolerant of others.

  • Refraining from bullying, and, last but not least. '

  • The Golden Rule' (treat others as you would like to be treated).

As a society, we generally know that we are expected to adhere to the laws concerning bigotry, hate speech, copyright infringement, child pornography, and fraud.

Bullying, cyber bullying, harassment

Still, some areas are not expressly covered by the law. The internet is still relatively new. Therefore, laws and regulations are continuously updated to reflect our society's changing needs. Therein is where values and etiquette apply. As a society, we value kindness, courtesy, and treating others with respect. With this in mind, we should treat others online with the same courtesy and grace that we desire for ourselves. This means that harassing behavior, defrauding others, and bullying are just as unacceptable online as they are offline.

Our society is comprised of people of many different ethnicities and cultures. As responsible citizens, we should be open to learning about other cultures and being tolerant even when we don't fully understand. This approach can help govern how we view and respond to those who aren't like us.


Other things to consider

  • People in your presence should have your attention, be sure that you don't allow your electronic devices to damage your real-life relationships.

  • If you must take an emergency call, excuse yourself and step away/out of the room to take the call.

  • When commenting and posting online, be sure to use respectful language.

  • Avoid sending or sharing images and information that you would have a problem with your employer, your parents, or your children seeing.

  • Be selective of the connections and "friends" you make online.


Netiquette word cloud

Let's talk business

It has been said that as an aspiring entrepreneur, your business isn't real if you don't have an online presence. Building an online presence comes with responsibility. Companies should ensure that their offline ethical practices translate to their online interactions as well. This includes being respectful of their employees' right to privacy and maintaining transparency in their business and privacy policies.

Paying attention to common courtesies is a critical factor in building and maintaining connections and working effectively with customers, clients, and co-workers. In addition to social courtesies, there are some more specific to the office environment; this makes the difference when cultivating relationships and making positive impressions. Business owners need to ensure that all their employees have good business etiquette skills.


A few office courtesies to remember:

  • return phone calls, voice mail, and email in a timely manner

  • be punctual to meetings

  • avoid sending lengthy emails as they clog up the system

Observing these basic etiquette tips and social courtesies is the responsible thing to do for members of our global society. If you are interested in personal or corporate etiquette training, allow the Mocha Southern Belle School of Etiquette to assist you.


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