An Open Letter to the Keyboard Warriors — learn some netiquette

Although some may not be familiar with the term, the chances are that every online user has probably encountered one throughout their digital adventures. Armed with words as a weapon and a computer screen their armour, they often hide in plain sight browsing the web, waiting to attack the thoughts of other users. Much like a classic school bully, a keyboard warrior typically draws your attention with arrogant, hateful comments or unnecessary fighting. What’s even more silly is that most of what they type are words they would never say verbally.

Source: Giphy

Yet, as easy as it is to ridicule keyboard warriors, it’s also very understandable as to how they came to exist. On top of the fact that most online arguments happen between people thousands of kilometres away, social platforms themselves make everyone simultaneously visible and invisible. The nature of a social platform is like browsing through an art gallery all by yourself while hearing an invisible crowd, overhearing the thoughts and comments of others. Your own voice can be heard as well, but you, yourself, also remain invisible. As you hear all the soft ramblings of various people inputting their thoughts, occasionally there will be one guy out of nowhere who starts yelling, screaming, and hating, disrupting the entire gallery — our not-so beloved keyboard warrior.

The absence of physical presence is the beauty and flaw of the internet, as this anonymous person can continue to scream and yell at others, and you can’t really do much about it besides putting in some ear-plugs and waiting until the gallery officials finally catch him.

Nowadays, it’s easy to see social platforms as being a private gallery as apposed to a public one. When every app becomes so heavily curated and specified for an individual, it makes it even more important to consider how exactly one should go about creating their online presence. Being mindful and respectful of others online is pivotal towards how others perceive them, their contributions, and their work.

So, to continue, the rest of this blog will detail some general guidelines for how to properly conduct yourself online and avoid being a nasty keyboard warrior.

Source: Google Images

1. The Golden Rule

The basic rule of netiquette is no different from that of etiquette. It’s one of the first lessons of grade school, and it simply is to treat others the way you want to be treated. Commenting on other people’s posts should be no different from actually communicating with them in person, and whatever it is you probably wouldn’t say in real life, there’s a good chance it shouldn’t be said online either.

2. Don’t Spam

If the person didn’t respond the first time, don’t send it again. No one wants to open their phone and see the exact same message 5 times from the exact same person. The chances are they hadn’t seen it yet or were too busy to respond, so don’t clog up their inbox; not only is it annoying, you’ll seem a little desperate.

3. Be conscious about what you post

Always be aware of what platform you are using, and who follows you on said platform. A personal Facebook page can be vastly different from a professional Twitter account, and there should be a clear distinction between how you handle the two. Remember, your online profiles are public, and can be easily found by future employers or family members, so make sure that whatever you’re posting is consistent with how you would like others to perceive you. Also, just try to keep it classy.

4. Read and Respond — but don’t copy

The internet is one of the most valuable tools ever created. Although most use it to absorb information, don’t be afraid to give back. There are an abundance of websites out there for practically everything (Reddit), and even more people out there with the same interests as you. People have started up companies, movies, and even boy bands, all because of the internet. However, that being said, just as it’s easy to create and share all sorts of work, it’s even easier to steal the work of others. Whenever you’re sharing other people’s work, be sure to credit the author of it it in a caption and don’t mislead other users that this work is your own. Not only is it illegal, but it’s highly disrespectful to take credit for something you never did.

Overall, netiquette is a vital practice towards a successful digital presence. Although the concepts don’t seem very complex, many users often slip up and find themselves breaking one of these rules, highlighting the conscious importance of consistently maintaining netiquette. The internet can either be one of the most valuable assets or a costly liability, and it all depends on how one goes by using it.

For more on keyboard warriors, visit here

To learn more about netiquette, visit BBC

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