Keep Calm and Remember your Netiquette

Jan 19, 2021

As we go into another year where COVID-19 is a reality, one of the skills we’ve learned is the importance of behaving well online, otherwise known as NETIQUETTE!

For the benefit of our readers and our audience, here is a breakdown of ESCA’s netiquette rules…

1. We Be Humans

It is easy to forget that on the other side of every computer screen is a living breathing human with feelings. We must remember the human! Before you press "click"; ask yourself: “How would I feel if this communication I am about to send was sent to me?”

2. The Rules Of Life Remain

Some would say that standards may be different in the virtual world, but that does not mean standards should be lower. What is unacceptable in real life should be equally so in your digital space. If you would never do what you are about to do in front of another whom you respect, you definitely should not behave that way in your online engagements.

3. Know Your (Cyber) Place

This seems like a simple rule, but one that is most often forgotten. After the year that was 2020, we all have some experience of different digital spaces. The rules of social media do not directly transfer and apply to digital workspaces, even though they are both virtual, live and online. Know the rules and standards of conduct for wherever you may be; just as you would not laugh at a funeral, you should not catastrophize at a comedy club. Virtual or not, a classroom is a classroom.

4. Respect People’s Time And Bandwidth

We are all here for a reason, and being here has taken a lot of effort, time and bandwidth. Optimize and respect the availability of the human on the other end of your engagement. Adhere to the rules of conduct as they apply, and honour and recognize that even though a lot has been put in place to benefit you, it is not all about you. Your time is rarely just yours, don’t be wasteful of it.

5. Book Covers Are Judged

Take as much care of your appearance as you do of the content you produce online. Brush your teeth, brush your hair, and check your grammar and spelling. Take a shower and change out of your pyjamas, and be courteous, respectful and polite. Eat your breakfast, go to the bathroom, settle comfortably and sit up straight, prepared for your lessons with clarity, purpose, and valuable contributions and questions.

6. Sharing Knowledge Matters

The best way to get through this is together. When it comes to your knowledge, sharing is literally caring. In this fast-paced environment of change and adaptability, we all have the opportunity to shine. Contributions of value have power, and together we traverse these shared waters wearing both the hat of the teacher and that of the student.

7. Put Out Fires

People seek validation, and nothing expresses this need for validation more than a strong opinion that was intended as a response. It’s called ‘flaming’, and it’s a thing - it can be entertaining, it never starts out personal, but it sure can be unnecessarily and unfortunately disruptive. If a conversation is being monopolized beyond scope, or the purpose of a stream has been hijacked, be proactive and steer the conversation back on track - don’t feed the flame war! Douse it, reinforce the reason we are here and divert the conversation to a separate channel for resolution between the invested parties.

8. Mind Your Business

If it’s none of your business, then avert your eyes. Respect the privacy of others. Do not take advantage of an avenue that is not yours to access. Maintain the sanctity of personal space, conversations and information, even if it’s all happening in ‘just’ a virtual environment. Let your colleagues, seniors and peers know if their privacy has been compromised. Do the right thing: it’s a slippery slope to a serious violation; inevitably there will be repercussions.

9. Be Spider-Man

“With great power comes great responsibility.” Don’t abuse your power. Social and structural hierarchies have a place and serve a purpose, but taking advantage of another because you can, will not serve the best version of you in the long run. Use your position of power wisely and reap the rewards that come with great leadership and influence. Be demonstrative and supportive. Don’t be merely powerful, rather graduate to greatness.

10. Forgive

There will be mistakes. Let the newbies rise above their foibles and their faux pas. Let the learners learn. You know more because you too were once a newbie. Be tolerant. Be kind. Nobody is perfect. If you do not know this about yourself, you too have a lot to learn...But we'll forgive you for it!

Never underestimate the power of any digital trail you leave behind. The above "rules" have been adapted from Virginia Shea's “The Core Rules of Netiquette”, and should be considered and applied whenever students, parents and teachers engage on the various platforms and solutions ESCA is providing during another year of Covid-19 (and beyond).

Stay Safe! Stay Healthy!