We now live in the Information Age, brought about by the Digital Revolution, where digital technology and communication devices have facilitated the quick and widespread dessimination of information. The Internet, in particular, has made waves in creating real-time exchange of knowledge and opinions through email, social networking sites, and instant messaging or online chats. However, because of the lack of face to face interaction, it is often prone to misinterpretation, leading to new kinds of challenges and issues on ethics and conduct in cyberspace.
Add to this the threat of online security since a lot of personal information is shared on the net. These concerns have brought about the need to set a certain guideline for appropriate online behaviour that help develop and maintain effective communication and remind people of their responsibility as digital citizens in this Information Age.
Netiquette refers to network etiquette, the operative word being etiquette. It is defined as "conventional requirements as to social behaviour; proprieties of conduct as established in any class or community or for any occasion." According to Merriam Webster, etiquette is the "conduct of procedure required by good breeding or prescribed by authority to be observed in social or official life.
Virginia Shea, author of the book Netiquette says offers what she calls the Core Rules of Netiquette.
Rule 1. Remember the human.
Rule 2. Adhere to the same standards of behaviour online that you follow in real life.
Rule 3. Know where you are in cyberspace.
Rule 4. Respect other people's time and bandwith.
Rule 5. Make yourself look good online.
Rule 6. Share expert knowledge.
Rule 7. Help keep flame wars under control.
Rule 8. Respect other people's privacy.
Rule 9. Don't abuse your power.
Rule 10. Be forgiving of other people's mistake.