Mind Your Manners Online With Real Simple’s Tech Etiquette Manual

Sometimes it can be difficult to know whether your online actions will be viewed as impolite. With that in mind, how-to magazine Real Simple has compiled a Tech Etiquette Manual, a collection of expert advice on common tech etiquette conundrums.

Here’s a sampling of its advice:

  • How quickly must you respond to an email? Real Simple’s experts all agree that you should reply as soon as possible, certainly by the end of the day. You should also be consistent; if you can’t respond as quickly as you normally would, use an out-of-office message to explain.
  • Are emoticons appropriate to use in office emails? Yes, although you shouldn’t be the first to use them in an email exchange with someone you don’t know.
  • Can you ignore someone who “friends” you? Yes, especially since sharing personal information can be a safety issue.
  • Should you always accept a request from a colleague on a professional-networking site? Only if you know them well and the connection would be professionally advantageous.
  • You Google (s goog) someone you’re about to meet for the first time. Is it gauche to bring up what you learned about her? Discussing the kind of recent good news that could have been reported in a newspaper — a new client or a promotion, perhaps — shows that you’ve done your homework. But bringing up a lot of personal information would sound creepy.

One thing that is clear from reading this manual is that while in many cases etiquette may seem like common sense, there are not always clear-cut answers; sometimes even the pros don’t agree on the correct course of action. For example, Real Simple’s assembled experts don’t agree on whether it’s OK to omit a salutation when closing an email.

For more advice on appropriate tech manners, check out our previous posts on style and etiquette.

Do you agree with Real Simple’s etiquette advice? What other tech etiquette conundrums do you struggle with?

Photo by Flickr user Muffet, licensed under CC 2.0

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