Points of Chat Etiquette

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Not everyone has grown up with chat rooms or texting. Not everyone is familiar with the “taken for granted” social agreements and chatting behaviors that have developed over the years. There will always be newbies encountered in chat rooms and those who just don’t seem to know any better.

But, relying on common sense and decency while following the good old “golden rule” of “treating other people the way you want to be treated” is something always worth practicing and an all-around wise path to take in-or-out of chat rooms.

However, here are some basics of chat etiquette that are always worth mentioning…
1. Never use ALL CAPS. The use of only capital letters in sentences is a mortal sin in chat. In written language, capitalized letters imply shouting. Nobody likes a loudmouth. So, don’t post chat messages THAT LOOK LIKE THIS. People will think you’re being a big-mouthed jerk or are angry at them. It’s a rude chat room behavior.

2. Abbreviate in moderation. Chat is a lot about speed, so abbreviations are useful and usually very appropriate. But excess use of them can have you looking lazy, disrespectful and maybe a little stupid. “y r u going will u brb?” can easily conflict your chat buddy’s reading ease with your typing speed.

As a rule, the less time-saving the abbreviation, the less justifiable it is. “LOL” saves 3 words. “K” saves only one letter. Save your chat buddy the need for employing an interpreter.

Now, Text Expanders (software that completes words for you) can help both writers and readers and can add a great deal of speed to a chat conversation, but not everybody has the luxury or resources for using them.

3. Accentuate the positive. With text chat, it’s easy to have almost any word, point or comment taken out of context, so you can offend or confuse a chat buddy without realizing it. Your chat buddy doesn’t have the advantage of experiencing your little wink, smile or subtle voice inflection. The lack of obvious meaning increases the likelihood of ambiguous meaning. And, our mind’s negativity bias makes us wired to interpret most, if not all, ambiguity as negative.

Ususally, most messages and posts aren’t meant to be negative. As a chat winner, you should aim for minimal ambiguity in your messages. Sarcasm can be funny or even great, but text chat isn’t necessarily the best channel for it.

4. Don’t stress about typos. Again, chat is a lot about speed. There’s bound to be typos. But, don’t worry too much about them. You can always post a correction message, but mostly that’s not necessary either.

There’s also no need to smugly point out your chat buddy’s typos. Typos are almost always a result of the desire to chat quickly and easily.

Effortless, hassle-free chat that’s fun, fluffy and an all-around good time is mostly everyone’s goal or mission, so even if someone violates etiquette, don’t complain or grumble about it – just play through.
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