The world has now gone digital; a good number of our communication is through social media through our devices, smartphones, tablets, etc. Notwithstanding, we need to maintain decorum on these platforms and mediums of communications. Just the way we express courtesy when we are meeting physically we need to also maintain etiquette virtually or online.

For phones

When making a call, it is courteous to begin by exchanging pleasantries before going to the heart of the matter. This does not have to be long; keep it brief. A simple good morning would suffice.

Except you are on a flexible plan such that allows for long conversations, such as a CUG, phone conversations should be brief. You should have prepared the main things you want to say such that you summarize them into brief points.

Make use of SMS where necessary. Unless you need immediate feedback to what you want to communicate, use text messages. In other words, some things can be communicated through text message instead of making a call. Short Message Service; that is what it is meant to be; keep it short and straight to the point.

The caller should be the one to cut the phone, not the receiver. The caller deemed it fit to call; he/she has honoured you with a call, it is rude to cut the phone on him/her.

Also, if someone calls you and for one reason or the other you missed their call, it is only proper to call them back afterwards.

Avoid shouting on phone. If you cannot hear the other person simply tell them about the network challenge and probably try another time instead of raising your voice. You are talking with someone at the other end not someone in another compound.

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When entering a group chat and there have been previous chats; acknowledge all members of the group. You could say a simple hello everyone. This is similar to entering a room where people, for example your colleagues are seated, the first thing to do is to exchange pleasantries. The same goes with individual chats you first exchange greetings.

Avoid using capital letters it implies you are shouting. Also avoid using abusive language.

Avoid starting a conversation which you are not ready to sustain; this suggests that you are taking the other person for granted. If you are not ready to give attention to someone, then you should not engage them.

Social Media

On social media such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. avoid using abusive language. Ordinarily you would not stand in the middle of the road and start raining curses on people, the same way you should learn to use polite language on social media. Don’t get impassioned about political views and issues to the extent that you begin to use foul language.

Some posts are meant to be private. Checking the trend of some conversation and posts, they are not meant to be on timeline or on dps or status updates. You could use inbox or message to chat instead of maintaining the thread of conversation on your wall or timeline. I remember a sister shared her wedding picture on Facebook, and you know the normal thing; people congratulate the new couple; wishing them well and praying for them. This man put something like; ‘You refused to marry my brother abi? Anyway, congratulations’. How on earth would someone do something like that! I felt embarrassed for the bride. If at all, he could have expressed his disappointment in a private message or simply kept quiet.

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There are also etiquettes that should be observed in sending mails.  Some flexibility is allowed in emails; informalities such as best regards, warm regards etc. are permitted instead of the traditional yours faithfully, yours sincerely.

Acknowledge emails immediately; don’t delay your responses for too long.

Make use of short paragraphs and sentences; make your message short and concise.

Write in small letters instead of capital letters; capital letters mean you are shouting.

Enumerate your points with numbers and letters. And remember to edit your mail before sending it.

Remember to start with endearing beginning (Hello, Dear, etc) and complimentary end (Thank you, Best regards, etc).

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