Behaving Online

There is lots of advice available on how to behave online, some of it very sensible and some of it belonging to the 19th century. The University has produced two guides on Being Online one for students and one for staff, these are aimed at expectations surrounding the use of what is termed “Web 2.0”. The This is Me project aimed to produce sets of guides as to how material online impacted on what we call your Digital Identity.

Etiquette is something different it is about often unwritten rules and social norms of ethical behavior within a community. A person’s general ethos may not change within different communities but awareness of the norms usually does, we act differently with our friends to how we act with family or colleagues. Online these boundaries can become blurred, emails can be forwarded, tweets seen many.

The most basic rule of online etiquette must be to always think before you send. If on reflection you think a post may:

  • get you the sack,
  • lead to legal action,
  • hurt your grandmother’s feelings,

and this was not your intention, then don’t send it.

What other advice should staff and students share with each other about the online etiquette relating to being within the university?


About Shirley Williams

Shirley Williams is a National Teaching Fellow and Professor of Learning Technologies at the University of Reading. She is involved in a number of research projects related to learning technologies, communities, social networks, Digital identity and knowledge transfer. She also enjoys reading and cooking.
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