Online or Off, We’re Still Human

Today, there are two different types of communities: traditional and virtual

Today, there are two different types of communities: traditional and virtual. As members, we learn to establish a point of presence and navigate the nuances of each as we plug in and out several times a day.

And while we can’t easily hide who we are in the real world, the Internet provides anonymity and an opportunity to be whoever you want to be. Just like the adage, on the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog. In the virtual world, time zones, age, gender and ethnicity don’t exist.

It’s a world without boundaries where people can create new identities or pseudonyms and do things they otherwise couldn’t do. But, in this world, it’s easy to get swept away, to say inappropriate things and to forget that on the other end of the network, there is a real person who has feelings and fears, opinions and objections. This is when it’s always good to remind ourselves of the following rules of netiquette[1]:

    1. Remember the human
    2. Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life
    3. Know where you are in cyberspace
    4. Respect other people’s time and bandwidth
    5. Make yourself look good online
    6. Share expert knowledge
    7. Help keep the flame wars under control
    8. Respect other people’s privacy
    9. Don’t abuse your power
    10. Be forgiving of other people’s mistakes

On CA Communities, our members abide by three core values:transparency, authenticity and trust. We exercise transparency by staying in constant contact with other members and making helpful information readily available. We present our authentic selves whether in the office or on a product community.

And we build trust by having direct, honest online conversations about our solutions. We believe that every point of interaction on message boards, in chats, through tech tips or webcasts is a chance to create a positive experience. All day, every day we try to:

  • See past the computer screen to the end recipient and put ourselves in that person’s shoes because, at one point, we too had questions.
  • Use an appropriate tone and clearly communicate meaning to help prevent misinterpretation.
  • Strike a balance between promoting free expression and establishing a reserved rapport.

Having netiquette isn’t just a reflection on us as individuals, but as a community and a company as a whole. The golden rule, Do unto others as you’d have others do unto you, still holds true today in both our traditional and virtual communities. So, consider your monitor or laptop screen a mirror at times before clicking post or send. And remember, even on a faceless platform, we’re all human and deserve respect.



[1] Shea, Virginia._Netiquette_Albion_Web. 26 March, 2014.

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