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Why was Netiquette invented?

Why and when was Netiquette Invented?

Recently a site visitor emailed asking why I felt the “need” to invent Netiquette (giving me way too much credit). Who was I to tell anyone what to do?

I’m not “telling anyone what to do.” Instead, I am relaying suggestions on using technology properly while integrating a bit of courtesy along the way. I fail to see what is wrong with that.

Long-time readers know I get these types of emails regularly. From those who find no need for “using technology with knowledge, understanding, and courtesy.”

But that’s the world we live in. Who of you hasn’t seen someone either on social media or in a group pipe in with commentary you know they would not say if face-to-face? So sadly, it’s pretty standard.

Intel Did it — in 1995

While I would love to take credit for such a wise idea, I am only one of many. Over the decades, many have added to, morphed, and updated the original concept of Netiquette.

Intel was the first to recognize the need for guidelines for this new technology in 1995. Coincidentally, the year I opened my business consulting business.

Netiquette and Email Etiquette have been a topic that many have carried the torch for. However, forerunners recognized that technology was becoming an essential part of our lives. For that reason, they realized how a set of guidelines just made sense.

Network Etiquette = Netiquette

In October 1995, an Intel employee took the initiative to put together an RFC document. RFC stands for Request For Comment. More or less a living document that others can contribute to and help to create. The RFC on Netiquette, RFC1855, is still online for your review.

It begins with…

This document provides a minimum set of guidelines for Network Etiquette (Netiquette) which organizations may take and adapt for their own use. As such, it is deliberately written in a bulleted format to make adaptation easier and to make any particular item easy (or easier) to find. It also functions as a minimum set of guidelines for individuals, both users and administrators…


After paging down, you’ll see 28 resources that were available at the time that contributed to this document. So, in essence, the online community at that time invented Netiquette. Not one person is trying to tell you what to do.

Guidelines are Malleable

Netiquette, just as with any guideline, is a guide. So no, you won’t land in the pokey if you don’t embrace Netiquette and Email Etiquette principles. But if you do, you’ll have a more productive and enjoyable experience online.

The only thing that will suffer if you minimize these issues will be your success and how you are perceived. Not making any effort to integrate Netiquette into your day-to-day email activities will say more about you than you may know.

So please don’t ask why anyone would invent Netiquette or why it is crucial. Instead, the better question is to ask yourself if you are open to embracing technology to leave the best impression possible.

Take the Quiz and The Pledge

You can start by taking the Email Etiquette Quiz; when you do, you can request a free customized certificate that you can download.

But first, you must have a 100% score in my system, then take the Email Etiquette Pledge. Do that, fill out the form, and I’ll create a certificate with your name for you to print out and display with pride.

Get the word out...