Lamar Giles
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My Netiquette Rules

Totally random. You’ve been warned.

At this time last year I took a graduate course on writing in digital environments. My incredibly fun professor asked us to develop our own internet etiquette rules. I happened to glance at the assignment and thought they’d be a fun re-post.

1. Don’t forward random urban legends

In the early days of email, we were all excited to get messages in our inbox. It made us feel important.  And, because we felt important, we had the mistaken impression that all of those messages were important. And credible. So, when we got that email about Bill Gates beta testing something that would net us a cool $50,000 is we forwarded the message to everyone in our address book, it had to be true. When guys were putting syringes filled with Ebola in movie theater seats, we started going to Blockbuster more. I understood those reactions in 1995. However, the time of being bamboozled has passed.  I no longer want to know the obscure story about some unidentified woman being lured to a rapist’s den by some lost-child-as-bait ploy. Could it really happen? Sure, anything is possible. But if it doesn’t come from a source that gives actual names and locations, DON’T SEND IT.

2. Don’t friend me in an effort to recruit me to your network marketing business

Social networking has provided incredible opportunities to connect with people we may never have spoken to again in life. I’m talking old classmates, former colleagues, even exes.  For that, it is a marvel of modern civilization. However, if we haven’t spoken in years, my excitement at reconnecting fades quickly when you start a sales pitch. Would I like to make some extra money? Sure. Do I want to do it selling $50 bottles of fruit juice or Man Girdles? No. It doesn’t matter how small the initial investment is. Your friend status will be rescinded.

3. Don’t be creepy

Okay, we’re Facebook friends even though we never said two words to each other in high school. That’s cool. I often wish I’d gotten to know more people outside of my immediate circle. However, it’s not cool when you confess your secret crush then email  the photo realistic sketches you drew of me during our junior year Spanish class.

4. Don’t use weird color combinations/fonts

Fonts are neat. I like the one that kind of looks like the metal stamping they used to put on old refrigerators. That doesn’t mean I should send you an outline of my dissertation in 16 pt Magneto. Furthermore, red letters on a green background aren’t festive. It makes your email look like Freddy Krueger’s sweater and will likely cause someone to have a seizure.

5. Dont Snd Emails da SAMe way U sen Txts

Proper grammar and accurate spelling are not outdated. That is all.

6. Don’t send me a Facebook friend request if you’re my mom

I’m serious, Mom.

7. Don’t include me on the results to your “What Sexual Position Are You?” quiz

I’m serious, Dad.

8. Don’t extort compliments with pictures of your children

I saw the 1,004th picture of your Little Snookums that you posted in my News Feed. Please don’t write me to ASK if I saw it, because we both know you’re not really seeking verification. You want me to tell you how cute s/he is. And, I’ve obliged for the last time. Here’s a News Feed for you…your kid looks like all the other kids that were born this year. S/he giggles, likes bouncy balls, and has little to no teeth. Truthfully, your kid looks like an alien.

9. Don’t start Tweet Beefs

Someone Tweeted a particular political/religious/pop culture point that rubs you the wrong way. So what? Haven’t you seen how quickly people update those things? The thing they said that you don’t like, will be gone in 9 seconds.”Going In” on someone does not prove you’re the hardest 140 character thug on the web. It’s pointless. Take a kickboxing class or something.

10. Don’t take this list too seriously

Just semi-seriously. The Inter Web is a vast place. And it wouldn’t be much fun if everyone did things the way we like them. I’m a pretty mellow guy and none of the above points bother me too much (except for the creepy spanish class sketches). Moderation and respect are the keys to everything. Don’t forget The Golden Rule.

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