Maintaining online digital etiquette is crucial in this day and age. TRW Consult writer tells us exactly why we should – and how we can do so.

Understanding Digital Interaction

The connective power of digital technology provides a guide for people to effectively navigate globally interconnected digital spaces in ethical and respectful ways. Digital technologies offer wonderful possibilities for people who can navigate online efficiently, communicate with people respectfully and access information responsibly. In a global digital age, members are expected to act according to norms and rules of interaction online in order to have a civil interaction.

Ethics of Messaging and Commenting

When you are interacting with others online, there are some commonly accepted rules for respectful communication known as digital etiquette. Digital etiquette is about remembering to humanize the person behind the keyboard and across the screen. It’s about being socially responsible and showing empathy and kindness.

While this may sound obvious, it is not uncommon for people to forget that there is a human behind every comment or post on the web when they communicate.

In order to maintain civil etiquette, ensure to reply as quickly as you can to sincere messages that are meant for your attention and which require your response.

Give every message the required attention regardless of who sends them and irrespective of how it is coined. You need to respond with civility. You can use necessary and respectful ‘emojis’ if you cannot type a response immediately. Cultivating a wholesome habit of responding to messages as and when due says a lot about your person. If you didn’t need reactions in the first place, you probably wouldn’t have sent out the message.

Also, the comments section on a video, post or blog is a space for people to exchange information, resources, ideas and feelings. It is a place for them to ask and respond to questions. If not for the comment section, the web would not have been a vibrant space.


Guides to Writing a Quality Comment     

  • Add new factual information with little fun
  • Make a connection with the writer
  • Proofread your comment by dotting the I’s and crossing your T’s
  • Compliment the writer in a specific way
  • End with a relevant question; this will give your comment a better chance of getting attention and reactions.


Digital Footprints and Digital Identity

You should be professional and respectful online because every time you connect to the Internet, you leave a trail of data referred to as ‘Digital Footprint’. A passive digital footprint is a data trail you unintentionally left online, for example your browsing history. An ‘active digital footprint’ includes data that is intentionally submitted online for posts and uploads.

The collection of our active footprints, including writings, audio, video content, messages, comments and sign-in details, are searchable. The reflection of this data as it appears to others is called ‘Digital Identity’.

Therefore, digital identity is also your digital reputation as it influences how you are perceived based on your online activities. It is important to create a positive digital identity because it:

  • assists in the exchange of ideas and resources
  • positively influences recruitment and admission
  • creates fruitful personal and professional relationships
  • makes an impact on a cause
  • provides powerful learning opportunities

While we aim to be 21st-century global citizens, we should always have it at the back of our mind that interaction in the digital space at any point in time is searchable. A digital footprint is searchable in the sense that anyone can search and still gets the information we posted even if it has been deleted at the backend of a website.

Therefore, always think before you contribute or share sensitive and personal information online.

Need help with maintaining a positive online reputation? Let us help you.


Temidayo Babatunde is a Fellow of Chartered Institute of Information and Strategy Management (CIISM) and can be reached via

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