Online Etiquette Lacking, Study Finds
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?