There are relatively few formal rules for those who run traditional Web sites or social media sites. As frequently claimed, the Internet has no real rules. Free speech rules — along with common sense.

But, there are many unwritten or unspoken rules for those of us on the Internet to follow if we want to be good citizens of the Web world. 

Corey Eridon, writing for HubSpot, cites a number of unspoken rules to guide our online behavior. Here are some of them:

  1. “If you’re citing someone else’s data or a quote from their content, give ’em a link.”
  2. “Don’t copy and paste content from someone else’s site, unless you’re deliberately and obviously featuring their content with proper attribution.”
  3. “Don’t promote your business in the comments section of blogs. You lose all credibility, and it’s a lame sales tactic.”
  4. “Be transparent about your business affiliations.”
  5. “Don’t Facebook friend business connections.”
  6. “Don’t connect with someone on LinkedIn unless you’ve had some type of contact in the past.”
  7. “Make unsubscribe links ridiculously easy for people to find.”



10 Replies to “Unspoken Rules to Follow When Using the Internet”

  1. In retrospect I believe that the first and second rule is not exactly an unspoken rule to follow when using the internet in that throughout my years at school it is constantly drilled that one should not takes one’s work for their own. Secondly I completely agree with the fact that one should not become facebook friends with business contacts, we tend to share things on facebook without taking into consideration that it presents oneself in a bad light and the less people who see that the better.

    1. I think rules one and two are a good example of how mindsets have shifted in just a few years. The internet used to be a battleground where fights would take place daily over copyright and cease and desist letters were given out like free candy. Now, however, most content creators love the spreading of there message through not only links but retweets over Twitter and likes and “+1’s” on Facebook and Google+ respectively.

  2. I think the Internet is such an exciting place because there are essentially no rules when it comes to voicing your opinion and expressing who you are. Of course, you’re taking a risk when using the Internet because you will be subject to judgment and clashing opinions; therefore you should always be prepared as well as cautious. Additionally, some unspoken rules that stuck out for me were number 5 and 6. It’s vital to draw the line between a friendly relationship and a business one. You never know the opportunities you may find on the Internet, so staying professional when confronting a business person is key.

  3. To be honest, I’m just really glad there’s some sort of list for people to follow. While the internet is such a great avenue to market your company, I believe that it’s better to do it more subtle-y than not. When people make the blatant “COME TO MY WEBSITE***BUY MY PRODUCT***IT WORKS GREAT” comment on a site, it really does make me believe that it’s some sort of scam or at least desperate. Additionally, isn’t citing your source (be it a quote or an idea or whatever) commonplace in our society? It shouldn’t even need to be a rule that you must give credit where credit is due.

  4. I am glad that there are some general guidelines to follow when using the Internet. Nowadays in the 21st century, everything is done on the internet there are certain codes to follow while trying to promote yourself and do business on the computer. The first two rules are very self explanatory: plagiarism is not allowed. The other rules in my opinion are great pieces of advice for anybody young trying to look for a job, and just great pieces of advice for anybody trying to use the internet to do business on a frequent basis.

  5. Corey Eridon introduces a lot of great points as to how individuals on the Internet should “behave”. Personally, I believe that the most important rule on this abridged list of unspoken rules on the Internet is to be transparent with your business affiliations. Nowadays, there is a lot more buzz going around about certain companies or money-making tactics which are scams or “pyramid schemes”. Being transparent with all your business affiliations gives you credibility with your friends/followers on the internet and saves you the trouble of having to defend yourself against those who accuse you of being involved in a scam.

  6. The internet has many unspoken rules to abide by. Most rules make sense and are abided by most. However, some rules are purely just people being scared and stupid. For example, rule number 1, ““If you’re citing someone else’s data or a quote from their content, give ‘em a link”. A rule like that is just principal. We’ve been writing bibliographies since middle school and know that it’s just not courteous to not give someone credit where it should be given. Number 1 and Number 2 definitely go hand in hand. However rule number 1, “don’t facebook friend business connections” is a solution to masking stupid behavior. You should not be posting inappropriate or risqué pictures on the internet period, even more so if you want to have lasting business connections. Facebook is a great network for business connections, and it would be a shame to miss out on those connections because you didn’t regulate/clean your profile. Don’t post stupid pictures of yourself, and if other people tag you in stupid pictures, untag and put your photos on private. End of story.

  7. The “unspoken rules of the internet” are basically common sense. Such as don’t take someone else’s thoughts/words etc. That in itself is just common sense. The others I feel could be considered “social common sense”. Its something not everyone posses, which is why event, such as the ones stated above, happen,

  8. Corey Eridon’s first two rules are common sense to the everyday computer user. I strongly agree with his last 5 rules because businesses try to hard to put themselves out there and people do too. But the internet is free for people to say what they feel. If they do not want to be formal, then that’s a shame on themselves.

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