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Chat etiquette

As the different chat and messaging services are invading our lives, I've decided to put together a list of rules that everyone should follow when using these tools in the workplace (and out of it):

  • Chat is an offline tool - Never start a conversation with "hey" and wait for a reply before stating what you want. If you want the recipient to respond online - call them, otherwise, write your message and they will get back to you. Moreover, allow anough time to respond before you ping, and if you do, do it politely.

  • Foreplay is important - Start and end every conversation with a greeting. If that's the first time you're contacting that person - introduce yourself.

  • Mind your spelling - and grammar, as much as possible. Make sure to correct typos if they happen as they may result in total misunderstanding of your messages.

  • There's a difference - There's a subtle difference in punctuation: `...` has a different meaning than `............`. `?` is very different than `??`. Same goes for capital letters (which are interpreted like a SCREAM).

  • Keep it light - As much as possible. This is what emojis are for. But don't over use it...

  • Read before you send - like any written format, a message can be perceived differently than intended. Read it through to make sure it conveys the message you wanted. Make sure you don't come out to angry or saying something inappropriate.

  • Choose your weapon - In case more than one mean of communication can be used, it's important to remember that different apps have different notifications. For me, for instance, email or Google Hangouts message will always create a desktop and mobile notification, while Slack notifications varies. When sending someone an email, choose the mean most appropriate to the urgency of the message, time of day, etc.

  • Don't SPAM - Relevant for group chat or any multi-person communication channels, such as Slack channels or Hangout group. Slack, for example, has special handles that allow you to notify a sub set of the group participants (@channel, @here, etc.). Choose the most appropriate one and make sure not to flood the channel with notifications. This will only result in participants muting or leaving the channel. Side note - Slack allows to create custom handles that you can create for your convenience.

  • Off the record - Note that everything you write can be search, print screened, etc. Don't write something you'd regret.

  • ID please - Make sure you have a recognizable image and your full name displayed on each chat app. Leave the funny stuff for your Instagram.

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