Netiquette Banner Netiquette, by Virginia Shea, page 102

endorsement, even though the company name appears in your Internet address.

So what are your Netiquette responsibilities as your organization's ambassador to the Net?

That's a tricky question. Many people's only access to the Internet and other network services is through work, and most people use it for something that's not strictly business-related at some point. Historically, most companies have turned a benign blind eye to the situation, as most do to limited personal use of the telephone at work. But as network access becomes more common, more companies will start trying to impose restrictions on how it's used.

Netiquette vs. business etiquette

Many of these questions fall outside the realm of Netiquette. They're really questions of business etiquette and business ethics.

Here's a good example: A large company instituted a drug testing program for new job applicants. One long-time employee disapproved. He called up the director of the program and, over the phone, got a detailed rationale for the program's existence. He then wrote an essay summarizing the rationale and, point by point, demolishing the argument. He posted the essay to a public discussion group. Needless to say, the folks in Public Relations were a little disconcerted when they found out about it.

Did the employee in question break any rules of Netiquette? Assuming that nothing he posted was an outright lie or misrepresentation of the facts, he did not. No one in cyberspace cares whether you follow your company's chain of command.

However, I don't know what repercussions, if any, came back to the fellow from his employer. That Netiquette fails to forbid an activity doesn't make it a good idea.

In summary: Netiquette certainly doesn't forbid the use of work facilities for personal purposes. Nor does it require slavish adherence to


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