Netiquette is perhaps the newest form, or category, of etiquette, which, according to dictionary.com, is the “conventional requirements as to social behavior; proprieties of conduct as established in any class or community or for any occasion.” The exact rules or codes that make up these “conventional requirements” of “social behavior” in which etiquette dictates are not concrete; they vary widely between each society, social class, and group. And even those rules and codes that are agreed upon and enforced can, and usually do, evolve and change as time passes.
But though most rules of etiquette do indeed change and evolve with time, certain beliefs are deeply engrained in a society or community as being good and desirable; for example, keeping quiet in libraries and chewing food with closed mouths are two rules that are widely taught and embraced in the society we all currently live in. Netiquette, which are the codes and rules present in the online community, also has its own rules of conduct in which every member of its community is expected to follow and abide by.
According to Wikipedia’s entry on the topic, some of the basic rules and codes that are expected to be followed by all those who use the internet include the avoidance of flamewars, spam, and “typing in ALL CAPS, which is considered shouting or yelling. The Wikipedia entry goes on to say that “Other commonly shared points, such as remembering that one's posts are (or can easily be made) public, are generally intuitively understood.” Following such basic ground rules will ensure a well received online presence.
After getting a good grip on the essentials of netiquette that are expected in all corners of the net, one can then make efforts to further develop in the area. It has already been stated that different websites, communities, and groups within the online community might have their own specific rules and codes of what behavior is acceptable and what is not. For example a discussion board or blog that is considered scholarly or professional will require proper grammar and punctuation, but other more laid back environments or forms, such as e-mails to friends, one can, as Mary Flynn writes in her article for CNN, “remain polite by using abbreviations and short hand.” Here are the popular Acronyms Flynn used as examples:
BTW = By The Way
LOL = Laughing Out Loud
ROTFL = Rolling On The Floor Laughing
TTFN = Ta-Ta For Now
IMHO = In My Humble Opinion
BBFN = Bye Bye For Now
IYKWIMAITYD = If You Know What I Mean And I Think You Do
JK = Just Kidding
NP = No Problem
WBS = Write Back Soon
"Etiquette." Dictionary.com. Received January 30, 2008. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/etiquette