Recently I got an e-mail from a friend that WAS WRITTEN IN ALL CAPS LIKE THIS. A little annoying? You betcha. Although she was just doing it to differentiate her responses from the other text, some denizens of cyberspace would be seriously offended. New computer users may not realize that e-mail has a culture just like every other community. When you have an on-line conversation, it's easy to misinterpret what the other person is saying. Thus the concept of "netiquette" has evolved, which involves a few simple rules.
- Do not type in all capital letters. It is considered "shouting" and may offend the recipient.
- Typing in all lower case is almost as annoying. If you are trying to present a serious business image, find your Shift key and use it. Please.
- Do not write something that you would not say to a person's face. Remember that computers store everything. Your words could come back to haunt you. Know that somewhere I have virtually all the e-mail I've received since 1994. Some people would be appalled to know that their words live on and I'm just organized enough to find them again if necessary. Computers make it much more difficult to forget the transgressions of others and in this litigious society your words could be used against you.
- If you must forward something, cut out the extraneous e-mail header garbage. Also realize that those of us who have been on-line for years have seen most of the jokes out there in cyberspace. And those of us with dial-up connections lose our sense of humor when we are sent 2MB joke images.
- If you get a virus warning e-mail and it says to forward it to everyone you know, it is probably a hoax. Go to www.symantec.com and look it up in their list of hoaxes. Odds are it will be there. (Yes, the Good Times virus is a hoax!)
As with so many things in life, when sending e-mail, the golden rule applies. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Don't be mean, rude, or so concise that you are unintelligible. If you just take the time to consider your recipient's feelings before you press the Send button, your cybercommunications will go smoothly.