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Social Responsibility: Netiquette

10 reasons to stop apologizing for your online life

  1. When you commit to being your real self online, you discover parts of yourself you never dared to share offline.
  2. When you visualize the real person you’re about to e-mail or tweet, you bring human qualities of attention and empathy to your online communications.
  3. When you take the idea of online presence literally, you can experience your online disembodiment as a journey into your mind rather than out of your body.
  4. When you treat your Facebook connections as real friends instead of “friends”, you stop worrying about how many you have and focus on how well you treat them.
  5. When you take your Flickr photos, YouTube videos and blog posts seriously as real art, you reclaim creative expression as your birthright.
  6. When you focus on creating real meaning with your time online, your online footprint makes a deeper impression.
  7. When you treat your online attention as a real resource, you invest your attention in the sites that reflect your values, helping those sites grow.
  8. When you spend your online time on what really matters to you, you experience your time online as an authentic reflection of your values.
  9. When you embrace online conversations as real, you imbue them with the power to change how you and others think and feel.
  10. When you talk honestly about the real joys and frustrations of the Internet, you can stop apologizing for your life online.

Samuel, A. (2010) ‘10 Reasons to Stop Apologizing for Your Online Life’, Harvard Business Review, 15 July. Available at: (Accessed: 15 April 2021).

How to behave online

Don't Even Think About It: The Basics of Netiquette

Forward-thinking schools make netiquette the student's Internet hall pass. Here are some of the basics:
  • Don't SHOUT in all caps.
  • Remember: The person on the other end of a digital communication can't see your expression or hear your tone of voice.
  • Cool off before responding to messages in anger.
  • Check messages for misspellings or misstatements.
  • Respect others' privacy and your own (for example, don't give your number to that new MySpace friend).
  • Use a clear and understandable email subject line.
  • Adjust your tone and style to the situation (for example, don't use IM-speak or all lowercase letters in an internship application).
  • Don't forward private messages to people they weren't intended for or copy others on replies to personal messages.
  • Remember: Email is never really private and a copy may exist in cyberspace . . . forever. Online Manners Matter (2008) Edutopia. Available at: (Accessed: 15 April 2021).

Using the Discussion Board


  • reread your post to make sure what you're saying is clear.
  • keep your posts short and concise.
  • keep your posts on topic.
  • spell-check.


  • make fun of someone else's thoughts or opinions -- respecting your classmates helps ensure everyone can maximize the benefits of a discussion board.
  • immediately respond to a post in anger -- responding to a post in anger may lead to classmate resentment. Also, other classmates may not be as inclined to participate in fear of how others may respond. Keep the discussion board friendly and on topic.

Using Educator Email

Have you ever heard of netiquette? Sounds like a fancy word, doesn't it? It's really not -- it just means good manners on the Internet. Since your email and discussions are on the Internet, you should always practice proper netiquette, or good manners. Use proper punctuation, refrain from using IM-speak (instant-messaging language) or slang, and keep in mind that people don't know what tone you are using in an email or discussion.

Finally, always remember to sign your first and last name -- there may be another student with the same first name as you. Do all this, and you will be a netiquette pro!


  • Keep messages short and to the point.
  • Use mixed uppercase and lowercase letters. Text in all uppercase letters is more difficult to read, and IS CONSIDERED SHOUTING.


  • Modesto City Schools does not monitor student email messages, but no email system is totally private -- think of an email message as a postcard being sent through the U.S. Postal Service. It is unwise to send very personal or sensitive information through email.
  • A good rule of thumb to use with email is, don't put it in email if you would be embarrassed by your message being read out loud to your mother in a courtroom.
  • Use an appropriate subject line; this will help the recipient locate or file your message in their in-box. (You have folders in your in-box that you can sort mail into.)
  • Pay attention to grammar and spelling. Though email is less formal than letters, people will form an opinion of you based on how you write.
  • It is a good idea to spell-check and read over every message before sending it.
  • Sign all your emails with your name. If the email is being sent to a teacher, you should include your teacher's name and your class period.


  • Before sending a message, consider whether you would say what you have written to the person's face. The detached nature of email will sometimes embolden people to say things they would never say in person.
  • Instead of hitting Send, you may consider pressing the Save to Drafts button instead. . . . You can then come back and open the message later to review it when you are calm, and then edit if necessary before sending the message.
  • It is much easier to delay sending an email than it is to try to repair the damage from a hurtful message.
  • If you really can't help typing a furious response, don't send it immediately. Walk around the block, do some homework or watch TV, then reread your message and tone it down before sending it.


  • Pay careful attention to where your reply is going; if a personal message ends up on a mailing list or listserv, it may be embarrassing for you and annoying for the other list members.
  • If you receive an objectionable email via a mailing list, it is probably best to ignore it.


  • If you were not expecting a message, it is usually best to just delete it without opening it. This will save you from having to read sometimes offensive or inappropriate messages.

Protecting Your Email Address

  • You will invite spam to your in-box if you post your email address to Web pages.
  • Do not use your email address to enter online contests or other drawing like events.


Beyond Emily: Post-ing Etiquette (2008) Edutopia. Available at: (Accessed: 15 April 2021).

Digital Citizenship & Netiquette

An introduction to digital citizenship for 7th and 8th graders, with a focus on netiquette.