Internet decorum

Internet decorum

You know your way around the social web and use the platforms Facebook, Xing, LinkedIn and so on to build up your professional and private networks? But to surf the internet successfully, there are a number of rules you should follow. Good manners are not just important in real life. Polite and respectable behaviour is also required on the internet.

Polite and respectful treatment of others

First think about which contacts you want to cultivate in which network. Business partners are definitely not friends and are best contacted on Xing or LinkedIn. If you add someone to your network, stay formal, even if you have met this person before personally. Introduce yourself briefly, tell them where you know them from or who put you in contact with them. Politeness and the correct form of address are always a must online.

You don’t have to like everyone

If you get a contact request from someone you don’t know or you don't want to accept, then don't be afraid to just not answer at all or to click the reject button. Xing even provides the option that the person sending the request doesn't see this. Of course, you can also write back and tell them why you are refusing the request. For example, tell them that you only include people in your network who you know personally. You don’t need to explain anything else. You don’t need to feel put under pressure here. You are in charge of your own network and can decide who to include and who not to.

My boss, my friend?

The decision whether to invite your boss or your colleague into your social network is completely up to you. It depends on how friendly you are in the office day to day. However, there are some rules to follow. Check your settings. Private things should stay private. Bikini photos or personal posts should only be seen or read by those you allow to have access to them. When you start a new job, wait a while to figure out how your colleagues deal with the issue of the ‘social web’ before you add them all to your network.

Learn to tweet

Twitter is an option to stay in contact with friends and colleagues. But for those who are not yet practiced, it’s recommendable to first read through the feeds, i.e. the information with which others 'feed' your community. This will help you to get to know the style, tone and language, and you can familiarise yourself with this world without adopting the wrong tone. Remember that content is also important here. So consider in advance what other people could find interesting. Even if lots of people follow you, you don’t have to do the same automatically. Choose carefully what information from whom is interesting for you and then decide who you want to follow.

Slip-ups via email

It doesn’t take long to write an email. But in the hectic daily life of the office, it’s easy to press the wrong button and end up sending confidential content to the wrong addressee. First try to retrieve the email. But because there isn’t always a ‘recall function’, often the situation can only be helped by taking the bull by the horns. Speak to both the wrong addressee and the person the mail was actually for, and apologise for your mistake. It’s really important to also let your superiors know. When everyone is informed about the situation, you can find a way out of the awkward situation together unharmed.