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Online Etiquette Lacking, Study Finds

by on May 13, 2012
in Computers and Software, News, Internet & Networking, Phones and Mobile, Blog, Social Networking :: 6 comments

People who don’t use Facebook or a smartphone are out there, but they’re getting harder to find. Along with the ubiquity of social networking and the mobile devices that let us check-in and share our every thoughts whenever we have them comes a new frontier that many people have yet to master: Online etiquette.

According to a recent survey sponsored by Intel and conducted by Ipsos Observer, 9 out of 10 adults in the U.S. believe that people are sharing too much information about themselves online, with nearly half of them reporting that they feel overwhelmed by the amount of information shared.

One-third of survey respondents said they are more comfortable sharing information online than in person and nearly half said if they couldn’t share and receive information online via mobile devices, they wouldn’t know what’s going on with family and friends.

The study also found that 85 percent of U.S. adults share information online, with one-quarter of them doing it at least once a day. Twenty three percent of people feel they are missing out when they can’t share or consume information online.

But all that online activity can translate into some pretty annoying behavior. In fact, according to Intel, the posts that people find most bothersome include constant complaining (59%), inappropriate or explicit photos (55%) and private information (53%).

To those, I’d add political ranting and tagging people in photos, although I admit the latter is something that bothers me only because I’m not keen on Facebook’s facial recognition algorithms being able to pick me (or my kids) out of a crowd.

And here’s a big one, at least in my world: Disrespectful commenting on blogs and other news stories. While I’m all for getting constructive feedback from readers and taking part in interesting online dialogue, it is never OK to berate, belittle or cuss at a stranger just because you can’t see him or her. If you wouldn’t unleash scathing reactionary comments to a person’s face, don’t do it online—or if you do, at least be respectful.

The other thing Intel’s survey brought to light is that Internet users even sometimes create digital profiles of themselves that are vastly different from who they are in real life.

It’s easy to see how that could happen. Introverts like myself, for instance, can be much more comfortable communicating via the written word than in person. So while I might be quiet in the flesh, online I can seem much more outgoing.

But what’s interesting is the survey found that 19 percent —nearly one in five—of people have shared false information online. This means you need to be increasingly discerning when it comes to trusting people online.

For instance, are you familiar with the term “sock puppet?” It’s an online identity for a person who is not real. One PCWorld writer has estimated there could be upwards of 600 million of them worldwide. The idea of communicating with fake people might just be the most aggravating yet. What kinds of online behavior bug you the most?

Discussion loading


I'm hard to find

From Info Dave on May 15, 2012 :: 7:56 pm

I don’t do The Facebook, and not only do I not have a smartphone, I don’t have a cell phone. Yet, I’m tech savvy, and participate in the comments on many technology related sites.

I find etiquette lacking in all aspects of life, not just online. For years, I have spouted off that two words are missing from our culture; appropriate and discretion. The recent dysfunctional behavior of US political leaders has caused me to add a third word; compromise.

When it comes to telling stories (lying), Scott Thompson (Yahoo) comes to mind. It is now hard for me to believe he has cancer. How’s that working our for you, Scott?

Say it often enough and people might actually start to believe you. That’s another tactic used. At least online, I can call people out. It’s amazing how often people say something 180 degrees from the truth, hoping it sticks.

It’s not just online, it’s everywhere.



Internet Language

From Marjjiie on May 18, 2012 :: 5:06 pm

What upsets me most is the foul language people use in their posts.  It’s OK to feel strongly about something or someone, but using “four letter words” is totally unnecessary.  I feel it speaks poorly of you and makes you seem ignorant.  There is a lot of lying as well.  People just spout whatever comes into their heads whether or not it’s true.  There seems to be very little fact checking.



Online Etiquette

From rocketmouse on May 20, 2012 :: 11:51 am

More spouting off at the mouth! Both in the article and in the comments. What remains to be addressed is what we can do about “it.” I certainly don’t have any answers (other than to keep talking to people about it) but *somebody* must have ideas…



Here's what I do about it...

From Dave Lindhout on May 20, 2012 :: 3:59 pm

I call them out, and you’re spouting more than the rest of us Rocky. Add something.



What more to do?

From rocketmouse on May 20, 2012 :: 4:54 pm

Sure. What do *you* do to “call them out?” What I do is flag them for attention, respond with (constructive) comments about what *they* can do to “clean it up” and/or how to spell certain words (spellcheckers don’t always work when the word they use exists, but is plain wrong,) which obviously isn’t enough. So what do you suggest for inappropriate political rants and other “annoying behavior” online?
Btw, I neither use Facebook nor a smartphone—so she found me. But, like I said, I don’t have any answers. NOW I’ve spouted…



That's better!

From Info Dave on May 20, 2012 :: 6:03 pm

My real name (Dave Lindhout) slipped, as I’ve tried to create the Info Dave Internet presence. Same person; sorry for any confusion. No attempt to hide anything, my URL points to my site.

As my moniker attempts to indicate, I try to use facts as the basis for calling out people. My experience shows that facts have virtually no place in an Internet conversation. That hasn’t stopped me. Facts get down voted and flagged just because it’s not what people want to hear.

Which is why I don’t flag much, though, I do flag the irrelevant, Internet get rich quick spam. I mostly view flagging as a cop out. Let the comment stand, and let people expose themselves for who they really are. Correct them, berate them if you must, but don’t cut them off. They’ve made their own bed, let them lie in it.

Above all, don’t engage in an argument. This brings me to a quote I had to Google. Ricardo Gomes Lumbantoruan once said, “Never argue with a stupid person. They bring you down to their level, then beat you with their experience.” Truer words have not been spoken.

I find picking on spelling and gramatical mistakes, trivial. As commenters, we don’t have editors or proofreaders. If a post is incomprehensible because of lack of capitalization, punctuation or sentence structure, let it stand. It speaks volumes, at least to some of us.

I find amazing similarities between political rants and tech fanboyism. People are so biased, it clouds their judgement. You can tell when somebody no longer has a leg to stand on, has lost the battle, but refuses to give up, because they have nothing else to say but, “You Suck!” Don’t argue with them, just walk away.


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