The Need for Nettiquette

When the word etiquette got contracted with Net to form Netiquette, it was to fulfill the need for some basic rules of the Information Highway.  Back in the ’80’s before anyone even heard of the Internet, I worked for a pioneering software company that had corporate email and offices spread across the country.  I remember trying to explain to the president of the company why SENDING MESSAGES IN ALL UPPER CASE was the equivalent of SHOUTING!  He was a forceful enough personality that he thought that was a splendid idea.  We all cringed every time we found yet another shouted missive in our inboxes.

The basic rules of Netiquette are simple.  They address things like the impropriety of BCC’ing a third party on an email your recipient thinks is private.

That kind of Netiquette needs to apply to blogs.  If we’re all going to publish as much as we read,  we become minor celebrities in our own right, so we will need to learn to cope with some of the issues celebrities deal with!  Suppose I’ve been reading John Smith’s blog for months now and I appreciate his opinions and thoughts on various issues.  I’m out shopping and happen to see him nearby.  It would be tempting to run up to him and start telling him I disagree with what he wrote in his blog last night….  but it would also be horribly rude!

We southerners have always understood the notion that while you may know who someone is, you don’t begin a conversation with them until you’ve been “properly introduced”.  I like to think that same idea could apply… even if its you who introduce yourself.