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LIS2004: Internet Communication

Email and Mailing Lists

Internet Communication

Upon completion of this lesson, the student will:

  • be able to describe the differences between e-mail, mailing lists, discussion groups, and chat.
  • be able to describe the differences between various forms of social media, such as blogs, wikis, and podcasts.
  • understand the purpose of RSS feeds.
  • understand the basics of “netiquette” for effective social interaction on the internet.
  • understand the concept of the “digital footprint” and its potential effect on one’s privacy, identity, and reputation.

The internet provides many effective communication tools, including e-mail, mailing lists, discussion groups, chat services, web conferencing, blogs, and RSS feeds. In recent years, social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter have also joined the mix. These various tools allow you to communicate one-to-one or one-to-many, depending on your communication needs. They also enable communication locally between people who know one another or world-wide with people who share common interests.

Throughout the rest of this course, you will learn to apply these various communication technologies by communicating online in a variety of formats.




 E-mail is one of the most popular internet services. E-mail allows you to send messages to one person or simultaneously to a group of people. E-mail is convenient and widespread; it offers 24/7 availability, and most people have at least one e-mail address. Another advantage of an e-mail account is that if your e-mail provider offers webmail, it is accessible from any location that has internet access.

In order to send e-mail, you must know the recipient's e-mail address. E-mail addresses consist of two parts: a username and a domain name. The username refers to the mailbox name, logon name, or user ID. The domain name is the internet address of the computer where the user's e-mail is stored (also called the mail server). The parts are separated by an @ symbol. For example, the e-mail address for the President of the United States is

There is no world-wide internet directory of e-mail addresses. However, there are several services that allow you to search for friends and relatives, as well as businesses and government officials:

Since there are many e-mail programs and services available (e.g., Microsoft OutlookGmailYahoo! Mail), instructions on using individual e-mail programs will not be covered in this course. Generally, the following commands can be found in any e-mail program or service:

·         compose: create a message

·         send: send the message you created

·         reply: respond to a message you received

·         forward: send a copy of the message you received to another person

·         attach: attaches a document to the e-mail message, either as text at the end of the message or as a separate file

Most e-mail programs have an address book where addresses are stored along with a nickname. The nickname may be used in the To: field instead of typing the entire e-mail address.

There are many free web-based e-mail providers on the internet, including Live Mail (formerly Hotmail)Gmail, and Yahoo! Mail. Free e-mail services often put limits on storage space for messages, and some limit the size of messages and attachments.

Mailing Lists

 Mailing lists (also called listservs) distribute information to an e-mail subscription list. Many companies, professional organizations, recreational groups and clubs rely on mailing lists to distribute their information. Postings, in the form of e-mail messages, are automatically delivered to your e-mail. You can simply read the contents of the messages, or you can ask a question, give your opinion, or participate in an ongoing discussion. Mailing lists can involve just a few people or tens of thousands. There are thousands of mailing lists covering almost any conceivable topic.

Subscribing to a mailing list involves sending a message to the list’s administrator. You will usually need to include the word “subscribe” in the body of your message. For some lists, your subscription will begin immediately, but for others, you might have to wait for your subscription request to be approved by the list’s administrator or moderator. Once your subscription becomes active, you will receive a welcome/confirmation message, which you should save, since it will contain information on how to unsubscribe. The confirmation message will also provide the listname/posting address for the list. 

To find mailing lists, try Topica, a directory of mailing lists and newsletters on a wide range of topics.

Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 License
Copyright © 1997-2012 Florida Community College, Learning Resources Standing Committee. Last revised August 2012 by the LIS 2004 Course Revision Committee.

Discussion Groups and Social Networking

Discussion Groups

Sites such as Yahoo! and Google allow users to create and join online discussion groups. Discussion groups are also referred to as forums or bulletin boards. These function very much like mailing lists except they are easier to create and maintain. They are also less invasive than mailing lists since you go to a website to view and post messages. This reduces the strain on your e-mail inbox. Discussion groups work very well for communication among local interest groups and clubs. You should have already encountered a discussion group in this class! To start looking for other discussion groups, try Yahoo! Groups or Google Groups.

Within a discussion group, a discussion on a particular topic is often called a “thread.” The following image is part of a list of discussion threads from the Apple Support website:

Clicking on the third thread, for example, would enable you to read the entire discussion on the topic of syncing an iPod classic to a MacBook Pro (see image below). You could also, if you wished, participate in the discussion by adding comments of your own. Many discussion groups require you to create and log into an account in order to participate in a discussion and/or start a new thread.

Social Networking

As computers have advanced and broadband has expanded, new social networking sites have developed on the internet. Social networking sites allow users to share files, pictures, and music, communicate by email or instant message within the site, and develop networks of friends or associates. Popular social networking sites include FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and YouTube. Increasingly, large corporations have become more attracted to social networking sites because of advertising revenue and the ease of marketing products and services.

The following descriptions of popular social networks were adapted from WikipediaWebopedia, and Mashable:


Facebook, the world’s largest social network, provides a place for social connection via the sharing of photos, videos, and text updates. Users create personal profiles and establish relationships with other people and companies. Facebook was founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg and his roommates at Harvard University. The site’s membership was initially limited to Harvard students, but was expanded to other colleges in the Boston area, the Ivy League, and Stanford University. It gradually added support for students at various other universities before opening to high school students, and eventually to anyone over the age of 13. In April 2007, Facebook was the primary vehicle for communication during the Virginia Tech tragedy. The name of the service comes from paper “facebooks” that used to be distributed at some universities at the start of the academic year to help students get to know each other.



Twitter, which launched in 2006, is a “microblogging” platform that allows users to communicate through brief messages (known as “tweets”), which are limited to 140 characters. The original idea behind Twitter was for users to post messages in response to the question, “What are you doing?” The prompt has since been changed to the more generic “What’s happening?”, but users can post anything that’s on their minds, and often use Twitter as a way to share links to websites, photos, videos, and other web-based content. Users subscribe to (or “follow”) tweets posted by others with similar interests, and can, if desired, send and receive tweets through SMS text messaging. Because of the immediacy and brevity of Twitter, it has helped to shape events pertaining to social movements such as Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring. In 2010, the Library of Congress announced its plan to create a digital archive of every tweet ever posted.

Twitter employs a convention called a “hashtag,” which is a word or phrase immediately preceded by a # symbol. By placing a # symbol in front of a word in a tweet, the word is automatically turned into a hotlink which, when clicked, will perform a search of recent tweets containing that word. The ability to group together tweets containing a particular word or phrase has contributed to a phenomenon known as the “internet meme.” A meme can be a word, phrase, idea, image, video, or anything that spreads very rapidly via Twitter or any other means of internet communication. Since memes spread across the internet in much the same way that diseases spread through a population, a meme is sometimes referred to as “viral” if it reaches an unusually large number of internet users. One example of a famous internet meme is LOLCats, humorous images of cats with semi-literate captions. A newer example is Doge, which are images of a Shibe Inu with comic sans writing added, like the one image below.

When a large number of people include the same word or hashtag in their tweets within a short period of time, the topic they’re tweeting about begins to “trend.” When pop star Michael Jackson passed away, for example, his name became a “trending topic” on Twitter. Trending topics usually pertain to current news events and come and go very quickly, while memes can remain popular for long periods of time. KnowYourMeme is a website that documents popular memes, viral videos, and other online phenomena.

Google+ (Google Plus) was launched by Google in 2011 as an attempt to compete with Facebook. Features of Google+ include “Circles” for sharing information with different groups of people (like Facebook Groups), and “Hangouts” for video chatting with a friend or groups of friends. Google Hangouts recently merged with Google’s Talk program, which created a single location for all text, video, and image sharing between a friend or a group of friends.

Tumblr, which launched in 2007, is another “microblogging” platform that gives users a quick way to post text, images, audio, video, links, and quotes in a community setting. Unlike regular blogs, Tumblr blogs (also called “Tumblogs” or “Tumblelogs”) are frequently used to share the author’s creations, discoveries, or experiences while providing little or no commentary. Some have described Tumblr as a kind of online scrapbooking tool that allows users to curate web-based content they find interesting. Taking on the features of other social networking sites (most notably Twitter), Tumblr allows users with similar interests to “follow” each other, and offers the option of “liking” or “reblogging” other posts. David Karp, founder of Tumblr, explains what makes this platform different on CNN:


Foursquare is a location-based mobile application that combines aspects of social networking and gaming. Users “check in” at a venue (such as a store, restaurant, library, etc.) and can connect with friends in nearby locations. Users are encouraged to be hyper-local and hyper-specific with their check-ins – one can check into a certain floor/area of a building, make recommendations, or indicate a specific activity while at a venue. Users can choose to have their check-ins posted on their accounts on Twitter, Facebook, or both. Points and other distinctions are awarded for check-ins, and some businesses offer additional incentives, such as coupons, for checking in at their locations. A screenshot of what Foursquare looks like on a mobile device is shown below.

LinkedIn launched in 2003 as a social network for work professionals, and has become the standard for employers looking for new talent. Through LinkedIn, users can search for jobs, submit applications, and join work-related groups.

MySpace launched in 2003, and was, at one time, the most popular social networking site in the world. It has since been surpassed by Facebook, but continues to be used, most notably as a way for independent bands to share their music. In 2011, MySpace was sold to Specific Media and pop star Justin Timberlake for approximately 35 million dollars.

YouTube began in 2005 but has grown exponentially since then. It was purchased in November 2006, for $1.65 billion in Google stock. Users may register with YouTube to upload videos, rate them and participate in different user groups, but it is not necessary to register in order to view video clips, send them to others, or embed them in other websites. YouTube has quickly become the pre-eminent video-sharing site on the internet, though its success has created competitors. Increasingly, advocacy groups and political parties have also used YouTube to get their messages out. YouTube helped create the concept of viral video, in which videos may be easily shared with millions of people through other forms of internet communication.

SecondLife represents a new type of graphic-rich Internet experience known as a MMUVE, or Massive Multi-User Virtual Environment.  The interface is very much like computer games, and users must download special software to participate. Users create avatars for themselves with unique user names, such as "Lefty Nicolaidis," to traverse the environment and encounter other users in real time. Users may purchase land, set up shop in a virtual environment, and provide unique products and services such as clothing, furniture, movies, and clubs. Increasingly, SecondLife has attracted the interest of large companies, such as IBM and Sony, as well as leading universities, who seek to make use of the 3-D video and audio interactive environment for collaborative projects and online classes.

Social Networks for Photo Sharing

Popular services for hosting and sharing images include FlickrInstagram, and Pinterest.

Flickr is an image and video hosting website and online community launched in 2004 and acquired by Yahoo! in 2005. In addition to being a popular website for users to upload and share personal photographs, the service is widely used by bloggers to host images they embed in blogs and other forms of social media. Services similar to Flickr include Photobucket and Google’s Picasa.

Instagram is a photo sharing application launched in 2010 that allows users of mobile devices to take a photo, apply a digital filter to it, and then share it on a variety of social networks. A distinctive feature confines photos to a square shape, similar to old-fashioned Kodak Instamatic and Polaroid images. In 2012, Facebook acquired Instagram for approximately $1 billion in cash and stock, with plans to keep it independently managed.

Launched in 2010, Pinterest is one of the fastest growing social networks on the web. Pinterest allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections by uploading their own photos, or by importing (also known as “pinning”) images from elsewhere on the web. Users can browse and/or “follow” other pinboards for inspiration, and can “like” and/or “re-pin” images to their own collections. Users can also share their “pins” on both Twitter and Facebook. A screenshot of Pinterest is shown below.

Social Bookmarking

Social bookmarking is a method for internet users to organize, store, and share links to online resources. Prior to the proliferation of social bookmarking services, the only way for internet users to save (or “bookmark”) links to web content that interested them was to add them to a list of favorite links stored on their computers. If they typically used more than one computer (one at home and one at work, for example), they had go through the inconvenience of saving their favorite links on both machines. Social bookmarking sites now enable users to gain access to their favorite links from any device with an internet connection, and to share links with other users. Delicious, founded in 2003, popularized the terms "social bookmarking" and "tagging." Tagging, which is the practice of assigning descriptive keywords to a bookmarked resource, is a significant feature of social bookmarking systems, enabling users to organize their bookmarks in flexible ways and develop shared vocabularies known as “folksonomies.” Other popular social bookmarking services include StumbleUponDiigo, and BuzzFeed.  Social bookmarking services such as Reddit and Digg give users the ability to vote on bookmarks submitted by others by giving a virtual “thumbs up” or “thumbs down.” Resources with the most “upvotes” are given prominence on the service’s website. Twitter and Pinterest are also considered social bookmarking services, because of the ease with which users can organize and share content found elsewhere on the web.

  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 License
Copyright © 1997-2012 Florida Community College, Learning Resources Standing Committee. Last revised August  20112 by the LIS 2004 Course Revision Committee.

Internet Chat, Web Conferencing, and Ask a Librarian

Internet Chat

In Internet chat, people view and respond to messages from one another instantaneously, much like a telephone conversation. Although some chat software includes audio and/or video aspects, most chat and instant messaging programs are text-based. One person types a message on the screen, and the other person sees the message either as it is being typed or immediately after it has been typed.
There are two forms of internet chat that are frequently found on the web: chat rooms and instant messaging. Chat rooms tend to be open forums where a number of people chat with one another simultaneously. Often the people who meet in a chat room are people that have not met each other in the "real world." Instant messaging (IM), on the other hand, is a one-on-one form of internet chat. Although you can choose to IM with strangers, often it is used to communicate with friends and family. Examples of instant message services include AOL Instant Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger (see screenshot below). Some social networks, such as Facebook, have their own instant messaging components. Services known as Voice over Internet Protocols (VoIP) such as Skype and Google Hangouts enable users to place phone calls over the internet to communicate by voice, video, or instant messaging.

Web Conferencing

 Many institutions are discovering new ways to integrate internet communications into their organizations. One of the most frequently encountered is Web Conferencing, which takes internet chat to a new level. Web conferencing is currently being used by businesses for employee training, meetings, and general communication. Educational institutions are using web conferencing as a way to enhance on-site classes or distance education classes.

Popular conferencing programs include AnyMeeting (a free service for hosting meetings of up to 200 participants), and fee-based services Elluminate and GoToMeeting, which provide programs specifically designed for businesses and educational institutions.

The illustration below is an example of a web conference taking place using the Elluminate software. In the column on the left is a list of conference participants, a chat box where participants can engage in live chat, and a “talk” button which allows participants using microphones to communicate by voice. In this example, it looks like the conference participants are collaborating to solve a mathematical problem.

Some businesses and educational institutions are experimenting with web conferencing using Multi-User Virtual Environments such as Second Life. Below is an illustration of a meeting taking place in Second Life, where attendees in the form of avatars gather in a virtual location to participate in a live discussion. Although it seems like all the participants are sitting around the same table, they might, in reality, be located in different parts of the world.


In December 2003, the state of Florida created a library information service that uses several methods of internet communication to provide information to all Florida residents. The Ask-A-Librarian service is part of the Florida Electronic Library and provides "virtual reference" service. The goal of a virtual reference service is to provide information seekers with free, convenient, real-time access to a librarian who can answer reference questions and assist the questioner in locating information on the web.

Special software is used to enable the questioner to communicate with a librarian via live chat or text messaging.  The librarian can send handouts, help files, spreadsheets, or slide presentations to the questioner. Since an increasing number of library resources are available online, librarians can also recommend and provide assistance with databases, e-books, and other online reference sources.  A knowledge base has been created to provide answers to questions about local libraries, and by selecting a local library, questions may also be e-mailed to that library.
When you see the Ask-A-Librarian icon on a Florida library website, simply click to access chat, e-mail, or query the knowledge base. To log in to chat, make sure you disable your pop-up blocker or set it to allow pop ups from the Ask-A-Librarian site.


Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 License

Copyright © 1997-2012 Florida Community College, Learning Resources Standing Committee. Last revised August 2012 by the LIS 2004 Course Revision Committee.

Blogs, RSS Feeds, and Podcasts

New forms of internet communication are developing as users experiment and find new ways to interact. New innovations include blogsRSS Feeds, and podcasts. .


A blog is a website that allows a web author to simply and easily share thoughts and ideas with other web users. The word blog comes from weblog, which refers to a log of dated postings by a particular author or group of authors. Blogs can cover any topic or can just be someone’s daily, weekly, or occasional diary of thoughts and opinions. Blogs can be interactive when readers add comments and a discussion is created. Many blogs are topic specific, such as the SCOUTUS Blog or Smitten Kitchen. You can find blogs on almost any topic. Technorati is one of many directories that can help you find blogs that may be of interest to you.

You can also, create your own blog. There are many software programs and web-based blog hosting services, some of which are free, such as Blogger and WordPress.  Blogs are created using a simple-to-use content management system that offers such features as organization of postings into categories, a calendar view of postings, password protected posting, file uploads, and comment moderation.  If you do decide to develop your own blog, remember that the information you post can be viewed for a long time by just about anyone, including future employers.
Twitter is an example of a “microblogging” service, because it allows users to share (or “tweet”) their thoughts, but limits them to 140 characters per tweet. Although Tumblr doesn’t impose such strict limits, it is also considered a microblogging platform because users tend to be brief when posting content to their Tumblr blogs. However, some use tumblr blogs as "full format" blogs, and post opinions, criticisms and longer form articles. 

RSS Feeds

RSS is an acronym for several phrases; the most common is Really Simple Syndication, but it is sometimes referred to as Rich Site Summary, or RDF Site Summary. An RSS feed allows you to track new content on a website or blog or to keep up with the latest news stories. An RSS reader or browser is required for you to read the headlines or updates.

For example, let’s say there are ten blogs you are interested in reading on a regular basis. It would take a lot of time for you to check each blog separately to see if anything new has been posted. It is much more convenient to subscribe to each blog’s RSS feed. Then, new content will automatically be delivered to your RSS reader, providing you with a one-stop shop where you can monitor all of the blogs to which you subscribe.
There are several types of readers and several ways you can access RSS feeds:
  1. An RSS aggregator or reader is a special software program installed on your computer. It provides a window on your computer screen so that each time a site to which you subscribe is updated, it displays a headline (called a news feed) and a short summary or abstract of the new content.  If the headline is of interest, you may follow a link to the website.  If you're not interested, you just delete the headline.  An update is sent to your aggregator each time new content is added.
  2. Some browsers, such as OperaFirefox, and Safari, have built-in RSS capability.
  3. Web-based readers, such as Bloglines or Feedly, allow you to check your feeds with your web browser.
  4. Apps are available so that you can view RSS feeds on your mobile device.
  5. You can also subscribe to services that deliver headlines and updates to your e-mail address. 

Websites with RSS feeds usually indicate their RSS feed with one of the following icons:

Some websites also provide a selection of “chicklets,” or icons associated with specific RSS readers (see CNN's examples below). To subscribe to the feed, you would click the chicklet that corresponds to the RSS reader you use. Like CNN, some larger news sites let you choose to only subscribe to a subset of their feed, so you only recieve the information that will be useful to you.  

There are many other sites that provide access to feeds, such as NewsisfreeSyndic8, and Feedroll.

If you have your own website and want to allow readers to subscribe to your content via an RSS feed, you can “syndicate” your site using services such as FeedBurner. If you have your own blog, syndication usually happens automatically, so it is not necessary to burn your own feed.
This video provides an overview of how RSS feeds work: 

Increasingly, web users are finding that social media sites such as Twitter can be used in place of RSS readers. Since many news sites and blogs tweet links to their latest posts, you can simply follow them on Twitter to keep track of new content.



 A podcast is a series of computer files, usually in audio or video format, to which a user can subscribe via an RSS feed. It is helpful to think of a podcast as being similar to a radio or television series, but instead of having to remember to tune in at a particular time to listen to or watch your favorite program, a podcast is a program to which you can subscribe, and have each episode automatically delivered to your computer. An RSS aggregator that supports multimedia (also called a “podcatcher”) is needed to subscribe to and receive podcasts. iTunes is an example of software that can be used as a podcatcher. Other popular podcatchers include gPodder and Juice, and Stitcher, which also has a mobile application for smartphones and tablets. iTunes is also a good place to search for podcasts that might be of interest to you.  You can also find many podcast directories on the web, including Digital Podcast and Podcast Alley. As with blogs, there are podcasts on almost every conceivable topic. 

Anyone can start their own podcast. To create an audio podcast, you would need a microphone, a computer, and some kind of sound recording software such as GarageBand (an application for Mac computers and iPhones), or Audacity (freely available on the web for Windows, Mac, and other operating systems). You would then have to publish your recordings on the internet and create an RSS feed to which others can subscribe. There are many audio/video hosting services, such as iTunes and Podbean, that will accomplish both of these steps. BlogTalkRadio is a service that lets you use your telephone to broadcast your own live talk show over the internet (no recording equipment or software needed). It then archives your talk show episodes as podcasts and allows others to subscribe.

There are differing opinions as to the origin of the word “podcast.” Some say it is a combination of the words “iPod” and “broadcast.” According to others, it comes from the acronym P.O.D., which stands for “portable on demand,” or “personal on demand.” This refers to the fact that podcast episodes are available on the web for users to consume at their convenience.  It is important to note that you do not have to have an iPod in order to receive or create podcasts. Podcasts can, however, be downloaded to iPods and other mobile devices for listening on the go.

 Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 License

Copyright © 1997-2012 Florida Community College, Learning Resources Standing Committee. Last revised August 2012 by the LIS 2004 Course Revision Committee.



 A wiki is a collaboratively developed website that allows users to edit the site’s content using a web browser. The most famous example of a wiki is the Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia that is continuously maintained by a worldwide community of tens of thousands of volunteer contributors. Many businesses, educational institutions, and social groups use wiki software to collaborate on various projects.

The Wikipedia was created using a free software program called MediaWiki. If you want to start your own wiki, you can use the same software, but a certain amount of technical knowledge is required. There are other, easier-to-use wiki services such as PBWorksWikidot, and WikiSpaces. Here is a video by North Carolina State Univeristy that that provides a brief overview of how wikis work.

The first wiki software, known as “WikiWikiWeb,” was invented by computer programmer Ward Cunningham in 1995. He chose the word “wiki,” which in Hawaiian means “quick,” because of the ease with which users can edit wiki sites.


 Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 License

Copyright © 1997-2012 Florida Community College, Learning Resources Standing Committee. Last revised August 2012 by the LIS 2004 Course Revision Committee.



When communicating on the internet, it is essential to observe certain rules of behavior. Effective communications are governed by “netiquette” (internet etiquette). Actually, netiquette refers to rules of behavior governing the use of all internet services, including communicating with discussion groups, creation of web pages, and blogging.


 Email Netiquette


  • Never say anything you don't want made public. Think before you post a message; always make sure you really want to send what you have written. Messages may easily be forwarded to others or saved for retrieval later. E-mail messages are not secure. Most organizations archive all e-mail messages that pass through their servers, and messages may also be intercepted en route.
  • Don't use e-mail when you are emotional. If you are angry, you can sound abusive or threatening. Be careful when expressing humor and sarcasm because it can be misinterpreted. With most systems, you can't get the message back after you click the send button.
  • Use emoticons (smileys) to help express emotion. Standard emoticons include:

  • Emoticons may not be appropriate in business or professional correspondence. A large collection of emoticons is available from The Unofficial Smiley Dictionary on the Electronic Freedom Foundation's Extended Guide to the Internet.
  • Use informative, carefully phrased subject headings. Many people get a hundred or so pieces of e-mail a day. If you want your message to be read, give your messages concise and informative subject headers.
  • DON'T USE ALL UPPERCASE LETTERS! IT'S EQUIVALENT TO SHOUTING. Don't use all lower case either. It's much easier to read a mixture of upper and lower case letters, especially if you need to use proper nouns or names such as Mary Smith, United States, NASA, etc.
  • Keep the sentence and paragraph length reasonably short. Some systems break up lines longer than 65 characters. If the note is forwarded, it might be indented by tab or may be strangely formatted by other mail systems. Sometimes strange characters are inserted at the ends of lines, which makes reading long sentences difficult.
  • Some writers feel standards of grammar, spelling, style, and document form no longer apply when communicating online, but this isn't true. You should use the same courtesy with electronic message readers as with print readers. Make an effort to spell words correctly, use correct grammar, use capital letters correctly, and space between paragraphs. You will make a better impression on the recipient.
  • Netiquette observed in a particular e-mail environment (work, school, businesses, etc.) may not apply to your e-mail communication with your friends.
  • The internet is an international network made up of people with differing characteristics, including ethnicity, race, age, and sexual orientation. Be sensitive to these differences, and be careful with slang.
  • Avoid local abbreviations and acronyms, or define the ones you use.
  • When replying to an e-mail message or discussion group posting, include at least a thread of the original e-mail you are replying to just to remind the recipient of the original subject discussed, but don't include the entire message to which you are replying. Edit out all the irrelevant material.
  • Don't redistribute private e-mail sent to you without first asking the originator's permission.
  • Avoid sending messages to large numbers of users unless you have a valid reason to do so. E-mail sent to many recipients may be considered spam. Never send chain letters via electronic mail. Chain letters spread misinformation, clog mail servers, and reduce bandwidth on the internet. Sending chain letters can result in network privileges being revoked.  Notify your local system administrator if you receive one. Some chain letters perpetuate hoaxes, and you should take care to identify them. “Phishing” is also a common problem in e-mail communication. Phishing occurs when someone sends you an e-mail message pretending to be your bank, credit card company, or other official entity. They typically try to frighten you by saying that your account has been compromised in some way, and then try to trick you into giving them your account number or other sensitive information. The following websites provide information on chain letters, phishing scams, and internet hoaxes:Sign your e-mail messages. Be sure to include your name and address, or organization, if appropriate. You can create a signature file ahead of time and add it to the end of your messages.

One of the best web sites providing a broad view of the rules of netiquette is the online version of Virginia Shea's book Netiquette. Others include Email Etiquette and


Your Digital Footprint

The internet has the ability to track your online behavior. Every time you download software from the web, “like” something on a social network, or purchase something from an online merchant, you leave a “digitial footprint” behind. If you say something online, it can hang around in cyberspace forever – even if you delete it, and can potentially be seen your employer or someone else who you might not want to see it. Avoid revealing private information about yourself or about others. This may include things as simple as your whereabouts. For example, geo-location based social media applications like Foursquare are lots of fun, but they’re also a really efficient way of letting people know you’re not home. Use caution and common sense when interacting with others online, and when entering sensitive information such as bank account numbers and social security numbers. When creating a password, try to make it difficult for others to guess. Safeguard your passwords and avoid sharing them with others. Most importantly, when you sign up for a social network or other online service, make sure you read and understand the privacy settings associated with that service.


Additional Guidelines

  • Respect copyright. Give credit to other people’s work when appropriate, and avoid posting copyrighted material (images, videos, etc.)
  • Fight cyberbullying. According to the U.S. Government's website on bullying, cyberbullying is a problem that affects 21% of American teens. Cyberbullying is a crime, and should never be practiced. If you or someone you know becomes a victim of cyberbullying, Wired Safety is a website that contains information on what you can do.
  • Be authentic. Even though some social networks allow you to use pseudonyms or create fictitious avatars, it can still be important to be honest, and avoid misrepresenting yourself. While role-playing can be interesting and fun, and is certainly appropriate in some online environments, you might find social interaction on the web more meaningful if you just be yourself.


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Copyright © 1997-2012 Florida Community College, Learning Resources Standing Committee. Last revised August 2012 by the LIS 2004 Course Revision Committee.

Assignment One

Assignment One

1. Find an RSS feed that interests you. The feed should relate to your current career/job or a future major or career that you are interested in pursuing.

2. Subscribe to the RSS feed for at least a week. Read the feeds and decide how it might help you with your future/current plans as a student or professional in the field. Or decide how you might use this information in a research paper for a class.

3. Share your findings with your classmates in the Angel discussion board under the "Lesson One" thread.