Note: These guiding principles for members were agreed by the Committee in 2012

Steps towards electronic communication and manners

With face to face communications we use 3 channels to get our message across:

  • Body language accounts for 55% of how our message is portrayed;
  • The way we say the words (pitch, pace, volume and tone) accounts for 38%;
  • and The words we actually use only account for 7%.

Consequently, we all need to take extra care and attention when communicating by e-mail or posting messages on Facebook.

As a first principle, show respect. Never send an electronic communication you wouldn’t like to receive yourself. If you wouldn’t say something to a person face to face, then you shouldn’t write it in an email or on Facebook. People don’t turn off their feelings when they turn on their computer.

Check before sending

Take a few moments to proof read before you send something! Typographical errors or will distract readers and can even unintentionally upset if you get it wrong. Be clear and concise Communications should be easy to understand, so avoid too much information.

Beware of acronyms

Try to avoid use of acronyms. LOL is now universally understood by most but other acronyms or text speak like IMHO (In My Humble Opinion) or FWIW (For What It’s Worth) can confuse.

Watch your language

Never - and that does mean never - use words that could be considered sexist, racist or ageist, or express a social viewpoint that could be regarded as insensitive, prejudiced or biased – and therefore disrespectful. Offensive language is contrary to the code of behaviour.

Don’t turn a ‘flame’ into a forest fire

A ‘flame’ is an e-mail or Facebook posting where the content takes a particularly nasty, mean-spirited tone. So, in response, never criticise the sender online. Personal attacks inhibit communication by raising everyone’s defences. Instead, email or post an alternative perspective.

Try to ignore others’ attempts to antagonise

If you are offended by something online, express your feelings calmly to the appropriate person - preferably by private email, not by ‘Reply all’. If you feel that the behaviour is not a one-off or if it falls into the realm of racism, sexism or is threatening, alert the Camera Club Facebook administrator.

Be patient and polite

Not everyone has an equal understanding of web or electronic technology, or perhaps the topic being discussed, so there may be occasional misunderstandings. Try to resolve these quickly and with courtesy.


Using capitals is the equivalent of SHOUTING online.

Be cautious with humour

It’s very common to be misunderstood when using humour or irony, some readers may not get the joke. Instead, use ‘emoticons’, the icons that express emotions. You may think them unnecessary or silly, but they have a valid purpose. In emails we cannot pick up facial expressions or tone of voice, so these icons can provide important information about your exact meaning.

The most commonly used emoticon is the ‘smiley’ : - ) … created by typing a colon followed by a dash and a bracket. A ‘winking smiley’ is often used after someone makes a wry joke and wants to be certain that the reader ‘hears’ the ironic tone. For this simply substitute the colon for a semi-colon ; - )

Use email responsibly

Don’t be a cyber bully. If you’ve got a concern or a grumble – do you need to include anyone else other than the person you need to tell?