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The New World Of “Cyber” 2011-2012 Our Lives Will Never Be The Same! Part I

by Parent on July 26, 2011

Cyberculture

W/ FB tkng ovr the wrld, wth ru gng 2 do??

If you were planning to visit another country, you would likely read up on that culture and local etiquette. It is, for example, a sacrilege to harm cattle in India — it might not be wise to go barbecuing hamburgers on the weekend. Don’t gasp with horror if you accidentally order guinea pig in a Peruvian restaurant during your trip to Machu Picchu.

No longer does it take several weeks to hear about the “shot heard ’round the world.” Important news (and unimportant news) travels as fast as someone can type it down, record it, video tape it, or Tweet it. The Internet has created its own culture; a culture manifested blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Skype, World of Warcraft, Farmville, Amazon, and eBay.

Cyberculture has its own etiquette (sometimes called “netiquette) which helps users to interact. It is just as important to learn the rules of cyberculture as it is to become acquainted with the customs of any other foreign culture you might be visiting.

Rule 1: Know your audience. Using correct grammar can make some people leap with joy while frustrating others. It is important to know who you are speaking with. If it’s your 16-year-old son, you might want to talk how he talks. If it’s your boss, you may want to follow his or her lead. If you are sending in a resume, don’t you dare say LOL, even if your JK.

Rule 2: DON’T USE CAPS. To the wizened web chatter, the use of caps looks like shouting. It’s difficult to control the tone of your online voice when chatting online. When we speak, we don’t only hear words but we pay attention to facial expression, body language, vocal tone, and context of the situation. When we write to somebody using the Internet, they have very few clues as to what you are really saying. Using common chatting terminology like “haha” and “lol” (laugh out loud) or simply a smiley  :)   can help soften the tone of your words. “WHAT TIME ARE YOU COMING HOME?” sounds angry. “What time are you coming home? :) ” looks friendly. A subtle difference, but one that you should be aware of. Here is a list of different texting and IM terms used.

Rule 3: Stick to the topic. People that post off-topic posts on blogs or Facebook discussions are known as trolls. “Trolling” is disruptive and often frustrates other participants in a conversation. Similar to troll comments are flame comments. The main distinction is that a troll is simply off-topic while a flame is something meant to inflame others in the conversation. A flame is a cruel or derogatory comment made about another or a group of people. Trolls are annoying; flames are offensive. Many flamers simply enjoy the reaction they get from other participants when they post offensive comments. When a user responds to them, their purpose is accomplished.

Rule 4: K.I.S. Or in other words, Keep It Short. Although your college professor might appreciate your ability to write in ancient Hebrew prose, the modern Internet age has a short attention span. Journalists use what they call the inverted pyramid style: they put the most-important information first and put the least-important stuff last. You would do well to put the punchline of what you want to say first. Modern Internet readers often read only the the headings and subheadings. If you’ve made it this far in my blog post, I’m impressed! The shorter it is, the better. Facebook isn’t the place for letters, it’s the place for wall posts.

CyberParenting In The CyberHood

Rule 5: Write for the whole world. Digital leaks are far too common. Beware of the CC and BCC options in email! Write each message as if it were about to be reviewed by everyone you have ever had contact with. And their families. And their friends. And their favorite news reporters, Jay Leno, Stephen Colbert, Hillary Clinton, Condaleeza Rice, Al Gore, John McCain . . . etc. If you have deeply personal information or bad news, it’s better to use the telephone. Believe it or not, walking across the office to talk to someone face-to-face isn’t out of the question either.

Rule 6: Respond quickly. People generally expect immediate reply. Don’t leave someone hanging for days on end.

Rule 7: Don’t pass it on. I promise you, no puppies will die in Argentina if you don’t send that email to at least 10 people. Sending it to 20 people won’t cause you to meet that special someone either.

Rule 8: Chat sensibly. Chat is wonderful thing. I can communicate with my supervisor across the office at the same speed it takes me to chat with a buddy in Australia. However, be aware that there is a significantly greater time difference for the friend in Australia than there is for your supervisor. Beware of time zone shifts! Most chat programs have status options. If you are available, mark available. If you are busy, mark the appropriate option. Again, a lot of short messages are better than one long one. A web chat is like a conversation. Three sentences is a long message. If you have to go use the restroom, a quick BRB (be right back) will let the other know what’s going on. Don’t just leave. Treat it like a real conversation. A quick CU L8R is often enough to let the other know you’re going offline.

This list certainly isn’t comprehensive, but it certainly is a start. Remember that Internet users are living, breathing people with feelings. Be sensible and stick to proper netiquette guidelines and you’ll be fine.

About the Author
Derek Gurr is a writer for MyCollegesandCareers.com. My Colleges and Careers helps people determine if an online education is right for them and helps them understand which online colleges and online courses they can choose from to reach their goals.

Check back in a few days for part two of:  The New World Of “Cyber” 2011-2012 series… Cyberculture Part I | Cybercrime Part II

We would like to thank all our guest (Staff) writers on The CyberHood Watch Parenting Blog! We feel it’s an honor and pleasure, to have others participate and contribute to the great content, ideas, tips, advice and opinions on and in our CyberHood, we all live in… help us, help them, by supporting and visiting their sites!

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