unsubscribed emailNothing gets my goat more than rude online behavior. Whether it be mean words, a misunderstanding of how things work, or flat out telling someone you are “busy” – a semi polite way of stating your time is more important than others’ – the internet is growing into a stalking, manner-less place. And I’m dog gone tired of it. Why is it ok to act with such ill behavior just because we’re not meeting others face to face? Would we use these same negative instances in real life, not virtual.

While there’s plenty to be debated, it doesn’t change the fact that more and more users overshare, passive aggressive, and ignore our way through the day. Check out this list of worst (and popular) online practices to see if you’re a regular offender.

Improper Greetings

I’ve been told it’s rude to start an email with someone’s name, and not first stating hi or hello. While this is true in real life (imagine the terror of being greeted with “Joseph, where’s my report” or “Maureen how are you today?”), it’s up for debate in the world of emails. But no matter your stance, be sure and start each email with proper spellings and punctuation. Misspelling a name when a source is two inches away shows a hurried response and/or a lack of effort.

Checking Tone

Something about online anonymity (which isn’t all that anonymous) allows us to speak much more openly (AKA rudely) to others. Social media often lists insulting comments and/or wall posts, while the same is said for email. When tone can’t be deciphered, it’s important to know how recipients will respond to these types of text. Otherwise responses can come off as mean or in ill taste. If it helps, read your drafts out loud, or default to overly nice-sounding text. Kindness will work every time, while snarky emails can put a damper on relationships.

Response Time

How quickly do you respond to online interactions? Within the hour?, week, month? Or – gasp – not at all? As our instant capabilities continue to grow, failing to respond, or respond timely, can have long-term implications. It’s also worth noting that social media outlets show exactly when (time and date) a message was read, as do email receipts, which many add to important messages. Not responding to these messages are an added insult to the sender, and show their time and/or words aren’t important.

Online Trends

Finally, failing to grasp how platforms work can hurt your virtual image. While those who rarely use a computer can get away with, say, not knowing what a hashtag is, those who regularly log in and then use hashtags on Facebook can earn a bad rep. This is doubly true for businesses wanting to expand their online presence. Before making a point to use various acronyms or new trend, be sure you know what it means, and how to use it correctly.

Spending as much time on the net as I do, I could rant all day long about the lack of common sense. However, the above happen on a frequent basis, and by more offenders. Become part of the cause working toward better online practices, not against them. I, along with the internet, will thank you.