Etiquette on the Internet

Pointing out spelling mistakes

In any case, shouldn’t you criticize a person without asking? The only moment when you can criticize is if the person himself asked you about it. But even in such a case, it is possible to express an opinion ethically and accurately, without hurting a person’s feelings. No harsh statements are needed. If we are talking about correcting errors, then it is wrong and unethical to correct them in the comments, because it happens in public. The question arises – what is the purpose here: to help correct the error or to show everyone else that the author was mistaken? Therefore, if you see an error and a typo, you can always write in private messages and tell about it.

Happy Face
Photo by Lidya Nada / Unsplash

Is it okay to write to a stranger on social networks to get acquainted?

If you see a person in a dating application and his contacts are indicated there, then it will be normal and ethical to write to him. But if you found him simply on social networks, then you can leave him a request, and if his communication interests him, he will answer you. Another question is that it really can violate personal boundaries. If a person did not like you in a tinder, then write to him in other networks and impose himself on him – this is wrong.

Write on the Internet at any time of the day

This is a misconception: people mostly use smartphones that have beep notifications. Mobile phones are always lying on the bedside table or by the pillow at night, so it is unethical to write at night, it is unethical to send work messages and emails at late hours of the day or on weekends. Besides, there is the possibility of delayed sending.

Sending Emojis to a stranger

Smilies are best sent to people who use them themselves. If there are none in your correspondence and never were, then, probably, your interlocutor does not like it. In business correspondence, everything again depends on how your interlocutor behaves. Let me give you an example: recently a girl in a business style wrote to me and in the end, she sent a gif – in response I sent a sticker because I saw that this format suits her. The same rule applies to emoticons, emojis, brackets. Always be guided by how your interlocutor behaves.

Love emoji
Photo by Domingo Alvarez E / Unsplash

Voice messages

Audio messaging is a very hot topic, and people argue about how acceptable they are in communication. It is better to always ask the interlocutor how comfortable he is to receive information in this form. It is worth refraining from sending voice messages to not very familiar people, so as not to violate their boundaries. Especially when it comes to business communication: if this type of communication is inconvenient for your client or partner, then it is better to adapt to his preferences. If one interlocutor likes to communicate using text messages, and the other – audio messages and both are happy with this situation, then there is nothing wrong with that.


Commenting on photos on social media with the words “what a beautiful photo” is a normal form of politeness. Another thing is when it comes to commenting on the appearance – here you need to follow several rules. It is important to give compliments with self-messages. This is when you say: I like your blouse, it seems to me that you have beautiful eyes. Thus, we do not give an assessment but recognize that we like something in a person. A man can praise a girl’s appearance in this way with the help of “I-messages” so as not to offend her.

However, if a person compliments, objectifying a woman, talking about her as a sexual object, instead of talking about her as a person and a person, he may be accused of sexism. A man should not put himself above a girl when he talks to her on the Internet, and say some typical and stereotyped things about her.

Anastasia Fetter

Anastasia Fetter