What does "Netiquette" look like in today's world of social media and social networking? In his recent post, "Considering Social Network Etiquette", Chris Brogan starts a conversation about what are the
rules of etiquette guidelines in these new services like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. It's a great conversation to have because the reality is that "etiquette" is a constantly evolving set of conventions... and those conventions naturally morph and evolve over time.
Those of us who have been around the Net for a while will certainly remember the Usenet Netiquette guidelines (look at the column of links on the right side) - more or less summarized in the Wikipedia "Netiquette" entry. Some may even recall that this was written down back in 1995 in an IETF informational RFC as "RFC 1855: Netiquette Guidelines". While those documents are a bit dated in their technologies (not many folks use "talk" anymore and Usenet is no longer where the conversation is), many of the points are still sound, but yet there are new nuances to the newer services.
What is best way to politely decline a friend request from someone you don't know? Given that Facebook now shows all your friends when you leave a group or remove an application, what's the most polite way to leave a group or remove an app that a real friend created? Should you somehow acknowledge every blog comment? How do you politely decline to forward a LinkedIn request? or politely decline a request to endorse someone in LinkedIn? What's the best way to deal with inappropriate "wall" posts in Facebook? (And let's not even get into MySpace...) When is it appropriate to copy/paste someone's email into a blog entry?
The reality is that we're all making this up as we go along... and in our daily actions and reactions we are creating the "cultural conventions" that over time come to be known as etiquette. They will vary somewhat across cultures - and that's the challenge because while we are part of our own culture, we are participating in a global culture, and that can be a challenge.
"Etiquette" also changes over time. Cultural conventions evolve.
The conversation is one we all need to participate in as we all actors in this particular evolution. Reply to Chris' post. Or this one. Write your own post - or book - or e-book. Start a mailing list. Or a web page. Many newcomers are looking for the guidance in how to navigate the new frontier... let's help.