Netiquette is a combination of the words "network" and "etiquette" and is an informal code of manners governing online conduct. Here are a few basic DOs and DON'Ts:
- If sending emails to a group of recipients, use the BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) section (don't list their email addresses in the To or CC section of the email address bar!). This way, no one will see or have access to your list of intended receipients
- Keep your communications to the point. If a recipient is paying for access by the hour, he or she won't appreciate messages that take forever to read.
- Check your spelling! You can do this in Outlook Express by placing your cursor at the beginning of the text you want to check, then hitting the F7 key to bring up the spell checker.
- Thread your messages when appropriate. Threads are a series of responses to an original message. Sometimes it's helpful to keep them all together; other times it's not.
- Type messages in all caps - it's the equivalent of SHOUTING!!!
- Assume your email is private. The general rule of thumb is: don't email anything that you wouldn't want published on the front page of USA Today. Avoid including confidential information (or, if you're at work, personal information) unless you have a way to encrypt it.
- Use an excessively long signature; they're a waste of bandwidth. A general rule of thumb is to keep your signature file down to 4-6 lines.
To find out more about netiquette, visit the free online version of Virginia Shea's book Netiquette.