Netiquette — is the emerging etiquette standards: the rules of conduct and communication on the Internet, in social networks, forums, mailing lists.

Netiquette varies from community to community. The first norms were developed in chat rooms, computer bulletin board systems and forums. Today the most widespread spaces are social networks and messengers. These became the spaces of day-to-day communication of many people, and consequently, such discussion platforms are the inventive setters of the well-defined informal rules of interaction. You also should be aware of the special rules of gadget and service behavior: for example, when using Google Glass (your companion needs to be sure that you do not use covert surveillance) or FourSquare (mayorship at your home will not hike up your estimation in front of your network friends).

Netiquette is different from the cell phone etiquette. To take one example, in England of stationary phones times, it was common practice when answering the call, at first politely introduce yourself and your phone number, and then ritual required, “Excuse me, who am I speaking to?” For modern means of communication, a similar protocol is only being born. For instance, at the beginning of the phone conversation people can enquire “Where are you? Are you free to talk now?” Or else, before making a call, you can send a warning SMS. You are not likely to see people asking such questions when texting via messenger. We kind of keeping open person’s options to reply at once, but at the same time we expect to get that instant response, and some even take amiss if they don’t.

Here are some examples of netiquette articulated by the social networks users:

  1. Everybody can leave the chat at any time without notice or explanation. On the other hand, some users find it very impolite to leave in the middle of conversation without saying goodbye.
  2. The online status tells of the computer being on, but not of the user’s readiness to communicate.
  3. Once read a message, should answer. So, if you don’t have time to answer, just leave it unread, to respond in a more convenient time.
  4. Only short interval between the receipt of the message and the reply (up to one day) is acceptable, so that the idea that you are dumping the other person wouldn’t shot into their mind. But for all that, messengers imply a faster response than the email does.
  5. To start a dialogue with the single “hello” and wait for an answer is regarded ill-mannered, to say the least.
  6. The reply should be detailed; otherwise people would think that you do this only to get rid of them.
  7. When referring in a social network to a link of some vague content, it is better to attach a personal comment.
  8. If you “like” or comment on every post of your network friend during long time, you risk seeming obtrusive or over-annoying.
  9. There are two types of attitude to the network friendship. The people adherent to the first type will accept your friendship invitation without hesitation. For them, being network friends does not require personal acquaintance. They use their friend-list as an electronic notebook, or as the news feed. Others do not add those people who they do not know outside the social networking service. You are very likely to get from these users the short reply such as “Who are you?” or “What?” And you are definitely not obliged to answer it.
  10. The effect of leaving verbose comments expressing personal opinion on the stranger’s page is neither to invite understanding nor to strengthen the contacts. You have only to write as if you went out and left the door open.

The audience effect — the impact of other people presence on human behavior. When expressed in the public transport or in social networks, the statements increasingly gain criticism, but simultaneously their sincerity lowers and creativity runs out.

“The days of you having a different image for your work friends or coworkers and for the other people you know are probably coming to an end pretty quickly…. Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity.” Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg
«There is Tanya for her family, for her friends, there is Tanya in the sight of God, and there is her real self . And Tanya should have one identity — then everything will fall into place. Tanya should be all-in-one.» Archimandrite Ioann Krestiankin

Despite Mark’s assurance, the kind of information person shares and the way he behaves depend on social group. While the kernel of personality stays the same, the degree of openness, sincerity, interest area, and even a way of speaking are diverse. People will speak to their diary, colleagues, and friends in different manner.

In social network every self of a person is given a single communication channel. Usually, this leads the society-oriented way of communication to victory.

Reference group impact

With the growth of subscribers people start to subject their words to criticism, and to size up impact of these statements on their reputation. This may bring back a more thorough content. The downside of publicity is that person begins to adjust their statements to the desires of the audience. This may turn their words into phoney acting. The person says what his reference group wants to hear. The author is afraid that one dull post will ruin the trust of his subscribers, or even make them give up reading his notes.

Networkwide that drives masses to get obsessed with one topic and act like bots. For example, some express their one-sided either criticism or praise of the government actions. On an individual scale this limits the freedom of expression. There is an extreme case of the audience effect: when because of the presence of just one person in the user’s friend-list, this user brings their network activity to naught.

Writer Lev Lure said that the most prolific state of a writer is his appeal to nowhere, into the void, being desperately lonely. In a state of despair, when there is no hope that someone will ever read this. It was at this instant that creative fire is born, because, as you know, no one can please the emptiness.


As social networks stretch, audience effect can lead to a deprivation of self-expression. If this is the case, you can reconsider your lifestyle and find new vistas opening up for your creativity. Another option is to create anonymous profile.

Journalists and bloggers of NYT are prohibited from checking on their articles statistics, i.e. how many people have clicked on their articles. This constitutes the newspaper’s philosophy — to provide readers with professional opinions not heading for the reference group. It is worth bearing in mind when the next time you will be going to chase after the “likes”.

Network hangover — situation when a person decides to have a break from the network interactions with another particular person after a period of active communication with him.

After a period of active network relations people may stop to “like” and comment on the posts of the other person, recede for a distance and terminate all social interactions. The motive behind this may be getting bored or attention switch, and unique network behavior feature. This feature is that people avoid being perceived as uncalled-for, omnipresent, echoing and applauding every word of the person. Person takes a step back, keeps their distance and restores status quo and independence.

Attribution error — incorrect understanding of words and motives of other people in a world of network communication. The error is explained by the overwhelming majority of the written word over the Internet and the impossibility to give body signals.

Attribution errors occur due to the reduced sensation on the Net. Psychologists have long been worried about the difference between face-to-face conversation and distance communication, e.g. letters, telegrams, telephone calls. Communication becomes impersonal and indifferent when lacking nonverbal cues, context, and tone which are part and parcel of the personal contact. We attribute all imaginable meanings and intentions to the written word, guided just by our state of mind.

Social networks communication turns it into challenge to interpret even a smiley. Is it a warm smile or scoffing laughter?

This feature forces users to mark their messages with more signs expressing emotions. Smileys, stickers, emoji are the mediums of our feelings, which take on the role of our emotions transmitters.

This phenomenon is reflected in the network jokes: “You were not honoured a smiley in the message — you are despised”, “Once we tried it on the Internet not to put smileys in messages for a day, and ended up having quarreled with all our friends.”

Communication stiffness

Network behavior resembles the behavior of people with Asperger syndrome. People with this disorder experience severe difficulties in nonverbal communication and limited ability of empathy towards their peers. Such people have weaknesses in understanding irony, humor and shades of meaning, although clearly follow the logic and coherence of thought.

This feature makes people inflexible when communicating on the network. Where in normal conversation person may have kept silent or switch the conversation, on the Internet people began thump their chests. This feature, for example, causes people to retort rigidly to the comment without having it broader. As a consequence, the space for contemplation inevitably shrinks and people get too stiff.

For example, as correctly says Leonid Bershidsky in his book «Ремесло» (Russian edition, eng. “The Craft”), in the comments to the article, people usually reply only to the last paragraph of the article, as if still writing the text for a partner in conversation.


Add some smileys when writing your personal messages, express distinctly the tone of a text and use images to convey the feelings and thoughts.

The “Digital Vocabulary” is a unique project. Nowadays, a great many write about technology’s impact on mankind (I’ve read almost everything of that, therefore my judgement can be called authoritative), but only Alex and Dmitry could comprehend, make it loud and simple, show it from an unexpected point of view, bring in their own insights and create a fabulous in its depth analytical portal, which considers all the aspects of the homo digitalis life. It is remarkable that both voluntarily Internet-addicted and committed techno luddites and media ascetics would find a lot of exciting things. Highly recommended to all fans of pushing the boundaries of reality: “Digital Vocabulary” provides a detailed 3D-model of the digital world and tools to its contemplation.

Irina Gusinskaya
Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Head of Interactive Publishing at Alpina Publisher

There is hardly anything more natural to a man than attempts to understand themselves. Every day we think over our behavior, analyze feelings and motives. Technologies are a part of our lives — the further, the greater their impact. It means that our condition, relationships with close ones, friends and colleagues also depend on new world structure. The “Digital Vocabulary” project, laid-back, by dint of observations and researches explains where we have come to, where we are going to, and why everything is the way it is. In other words, it gives meaningfulness to our actions.

Anastasia Chernikova
IT Journalist, Editor at Hopes & Fears

The Digital Vocabulary Project is a nuanced perspective to how we, digital media practitioners and theorists look at the digital landscape. The Internet of Things and Big Data have massively revolutionized our lives in profound ways. These technological and structurally changes to our personal and professional lives, has brought about social, cultural and political implications. This nuanced perspective is what project presents to its readers. As a marketing communications professional I have seen numerous studies and analyses written about how the digital revolution is and will continue to create tremendous economic opportunities for brands and marketers. I have also heard perspectives on how consumer behavior is greatly influenced through these advancements in technology. But what Alex and Dmitriy bring to the table is a psychological and sociological perspective to these changes. The Digital Vocabulary Project zeros in on the central theme of digital anthropology — which is increasingly important in this day and age, as we progress into an even more technologically advanced world.

Florent D’Souza
Consultant. Aspiring entrepreneur. Strategist. Marketing communications professional. Polymath.

It’s about time someone(s) put together a GPS for navigating the digital gadget landscape. And Alex and Dmitriy have succeeded in this wonderfully! More than a dictionary of terms that only a geek could love, this vocabulary introduces and explains key terms in both their technical and cultural significance. Moreover there are highlighted key sentences in each section for those who have only an “Internet minute” to cover the material.

Tom Mahon
Technology Publicist, Journalist and Activist
Author “Charged Bodies: People, Power, and Paradox in Silicon Valley”

I’m getting old, the twinkle in my stardust is fading like a birthday candle. I remember the time when a friend told me about a lecture he’d just attended, it was a time with no personal computers and no mobile phones – yes, such a time actually existed, I was born in that time. My friend told me that the lecturer had said “In the future, there will be two kinds of people, technocrats and technopeasants,” Well, here we are in the future (a future sadly bereft of hover scooters) and I guess that prophetic lecturer was right. I had chosen to be on the side of the technopeasants because I figured that the world of theatre, “to which I am shackled like a boozer to his bottle, a dogged gambler to his game…” would not be impinged upon by the technological revolution. Well, I was wrong and the reason I was wrong is because the technological revolution has gotten rid of the actor and replaced him with an uber-marionette of cosmic proportions – it has changed the mind of man – it may be that we are no longer able to “hold a mirror up to nature” as creative artists but that the quantum and intra worlds of meta-linguistics are actually dragging us by the ego into the whirlpool of narcissism, where we are being devoured by vicious metal sharks and turned into bloody chum – until that is the human voices of digital detox wake us, “and we drown.”

Martin Cooke
Artistic Director, English Actors International

“Digital Vocabulary” is an extremely time-sensitive project. A few years ago, warnings regarding new technologies could be considered far-fetched. However, today we understand that the principle “I’ll turn it off if I please” no longer works: technology has been long now deciding when it is time to switch us on and off — by operating cycles, TV-program schedules, alarm clocks in smartphones, mobile apps, games and wearable devices. An important thing is that operational guidelines go hand-in-hand with theory. Thus, it allows not only to adapt to the prevailing conditions but also to suggest how the situation will develop further. And then, apparently, the next initiative by “Digital Vocabulary” authors will be required — new technologies and social changes are not long in coming.

Anton Gumenskiy
Media Researcher, Lecturer Theory of Communication Faculty of International Journalism at MGIMO

Our most precious, irreplaceable resource is our time. For me personally, books are one of the wisest ways we can invest that time. A book is the direct transfer, mind to mind, of the thoughts of another human being. Today, we are assailed by a thousand distractions every hour, as various sources of information compete for our attention. Those of us who grew up in the pre-Internet era know the slow time experience of immersion in a powerful or moving book. And when we switch our attention to Facebook, or Reddit, or any of a million and one other potential distractions, we are losing our time to an insidious digital addiction.

The shallow accretions of Internet data doses are finely tuned to captivate our attention, titillating our minds with illusory promises of satisfaction which can never be fulfilled except by more of the same, in an endless cycle of meme, news flash and tawdry ‘human interest’ stories, optimized with click-bait headlines. What we gain in content, we lose in meaning.

We are also losing our privacy, our innocence and most importantly, we are losing the ability to think deeply about important subjects. As long as we embrace too-easy gratification, we will continue to remain in thrall to the digital domination of instant information. I am concerned that human beings are subjecting themselves to a new way to trigger neuro-chemical changes in our brains, that may ultimately lead to a decline in the quality of our human relationships.

I therefore advocate and support the message of entering slow time. Take a hike in nature. Disconnect from the constant digital flood. Interact with your friends. Share a meal together. Switch off from every external distraction, and embrace the flow of life beyond the digital fix. Your future may depend upon it.

Paul Gillingwater
Journalist & Filmmaker. Managing Editor at The Local Austria
Next review