Have you heard of “netiquette”? It is basically a set of written and unwritten rules on how people should behave when communicating via email and other electronic mediums. It is necessary for companies to address this, and to check on this through their email archiving solutions. So what are some of the key unwritten rules that you may want to consider writing down in your organization?

The Rules of Netiquette

  1. Do not use large fonts or all caps. That makes it look as if you are shouting and is incredibly offensive.
  2. Do not use weird colors or fonts. They are annoying and do not make you look professional at all. If you want to specifically highlight something in the text of an email, underline it.
  3. Always include a subject in the email and make it appropriate. This will avoid an email archiving solution from marking it as spam, gives people an idea of whether they have to read it or not, and makes things easier to find if you get an e-discovery request.
  4. Start an email with a greeting, just as you would with a letter, or even in person.
  5. Always end an email with a greeting as well. This should be an electronic signature that includes your name, job title, and contact details.
  6. Mass emails should be sent as BCC not CC or even main recipients. This is because not everybody wants their email shared with others.
  7. Do not use jokes or sarcasm in emails to people you do not know very well. In fact, some companies have made it policy for their staff to write jokes in a different font, so others can instantly recognize them. This is because email does not have body language, and you need to make sure people don’t accidentally misunderstand a joke.
  8. Always check that you have written the recipient’s address in properly. There have been too many situations in which the wrong person received an email not meant for them and took offense or, worse still, received highly private information.
  9. Always send personal emails from a personal email address. If your business gets an e-discovery request, the last thing they want to do is present evidence of you sending jokes or other private affairs to others.
  10. Never send anything lewd or offensive via email. Anything that could be perceived as offensive by anyone should not be forwarded. That is not to say that you can’t forward jokes to others, but stay away from racism, sexism, or any other -ism or –phobia.
  11. Remember that any email you send through a company email becomes intellectual property of that company. Again, following an e-discovery request, it will all be revealed to third parties.

With these 11 rules of netiquette, you should be able to protect yourself. Make sure that you also have good email archiving solutions in place so that you can find any information as and when required, and so that you can show that your staff adheres to the rules as well.

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