This week I participated in a discussion surrounding Netiquette (The Etiquette of the Internet) on it’s origins and purpose. I don’t think anyone would agree that Netiquette doesn’t have benefits, it all makes sense. If everyone acted in a civil way on the Internet, it would make life much easier. Recent changes in the law have formalised some of the most severe elements of Netiquette in the UK. Internet Trolls can now face up to two years in Jail (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-29678989)
Netiquette – In Text
Netiquette is not just about behaving yourself online it’s also about interacting in a clear way. Some methods of communication don’t translate well when written down, such as sarcasm. I found this example today when communication has been completely confused when the poster attempted sarcasm “and failed miserably”
(Screenshot – digitalspy.co.uk)
In face to face communication sarcasm is quite easy to detect, the change in tone of voice, gestures and context all contribute. Online sarcasm can be lost and allow arguments to start. The rules of Netiquette generally discourage the use of acronyms and “text speak”. However now some of those terms are in the Oxford English Dictionary such as;
Originally and chiefly in the language of electronic communications: ‘ha ha!’; used to draw attention to a joke or humorous statement, or to express amusement.
First used – 1989 FidoNews (Electronic text) 8 May, LOL—Laughing Out Loud.
I feel Netiquette in the wider Internet is a nice idea, but has been lost in rapid expansion. On stand alone websites, forums, and VLEs it is possible to set “house rules”. However with “house rules” they will vary from site to site. Netiquette may have seemed achievable many years ago when the Internet was in it’s infancy, however now it is a different story. The screenshot below is taken from the comments section on a Youtube video (discussing a video game). As you can see there is pretty much every mistake in the “Netiquette book”, but one poster does attempt to consider the feeling of others (getting the correct gender).
(Screenshot – youtube.com)
The Internet is changing, just like our changing culture. The Internet of 2014 is much more about self made content, video, audio than written text. It does feel some of the “rules” of Netiquette need updating.. but would anyone read them? now everyone is a curator can the world agree on rules? Better make a Youtube video and find out!