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September 05, 2008

Yahoo! Messenger Shares Survey about Online Etiquette

I just received this email from Yahoo! and thought it would be interesting to share... Happy birthday Yahoo!

Yahoo! Messenger Turns 10 and Reveals the Truth About “Netiquette”

Here is a summary, but the details of the survey are listed below:

Rules of netiquette:

  • It’s ok to…
    • Wish someone a happy birthday via IM (according to 68% of the young adults surveyed)
    • Say thanks! With an IM (57%)       
    • RSVP through instant message (55%) 
  • It’s NOT ok to…
    • Apologize via IM (only 21% of young adults said it is acceptable)
    • Break up electronically (8%)       
    • Communicate the death of a loved one with an IM (10%)

Communicating with Kids:

  • BRB (be right back)     
  • LOL (laugh out loud) – believe it or not 56% of young adults admit to using LOL in their regular speech!     
  • TTYL (Talk to you later)


New Survey Breaks Down the Dos and Don’ts of Online Etiquette

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Yahoo! Messenger, the leading instant messaging application in the  U.S. and the service on which worldwide users spend the most time.  For the last decade, Yahoo! Messenger has been connecting friends, family and colleagues, and is often one of the first communication tools people see and use on a daily basis – whether from home or at work. To celebrate the anniversary, Yahoo! conducted a survey to find out how instant messaging (IM) has changed the way we communicate and how people do – or do not – adhere to common rules of etiquette in their online communication.

IM has evolved greatly since Yahoo! Messenger launched in 1998 and has become a necessity for every day communication.  According to the survey, 75 percent of respondents between the age of 18-30, or young adults, use an instant messaging service on a regular basis.  A sign of its popularity and versatility, instant messaging has become such an integral part of society that “IM Lingo” has infiltrated verbal communication, with nearly 50 percent of respondents using phrases like “LOL,” or laughing out loud, in everyday conversation.   

Changes in the way we communicate also raise questions around online etiquette, more commonly called “netiquette.”  This recent survey captured surprising information on thoughts around etiquette and honesty. 

“I’m sorry…so sorry”: When asked what they would do if they accidentally sent a snarky or sassy IM to the wrong person, an overwhelming 88 percent of respondents aged 50 or older would be honest and apologize.  However, 39 percent of young adults would just play it off with a silly emoticon, an animated smiley face.

To Type or Not To Type?: General rules of etiquette dictate that there are certain conversations that should be had in person, or at the very least over the phone.  Yet, a startling one out of every ten respondents thinks it is acceptable to communicate the death of a loved one via an instant message. Nearly half of respondents (49 percent) consider it appropriate to use IM to RSVP, while more than half (55 percent) say it is perfectly ok to thank someone via IM.

“In today’s Web-centric world, it is perfectly acceptable to RSVP to an event via electronic communication, especially since many invitations are issued that way," advises Margo Howard, advice and etiquette expert, daughter of legendary columnist Ann Landers.  “Instant messaging is a great way to communicate in a fast-paced world, but there are still instances when it's more fitting to pick up the phone, send a handwritten note, or have a face-to-face conversation, i.e., breaking up. The barriers, however, are falling.  When my mother died I received several hundred e-mails of condolence, which were no less appreciated than the handwritten variety. When speed is a necessity, nothing beats IM or e-mail."

Other interesting results from the Yahoo! survey reflect the changes in personal and professional relationships and communication.

The recent survey also set out to find if and how the rise of electronic communication has changed the way people communicate with loved ones.


The recent survey also set out to find if and how the rise of electronic communication has changed the way people communicate with loved ones.

 Cheat or Chat?: 37 percent of women surveyed think that any kind of flirting – even over IM – is considered cheating.  Noticeably fewer men (only 30 percent) agree.

 Breaking Up Is Hard To Do: Instant messaging is taking the place of some difficult conversations, with 16 percent of young adults saying that they have broken-up with someone by sending their significant other an instant message!

Workplace Communication

For many, it’s hard to remember a time when electronic communication was not the main component of life in the workplace.

 Pen and Paper are Passé: Nearly half (49 percent) of all respondents cannot remember the last time they sent a handwritten letter for business purposes.

 My People Won’t Call Your People: More than half (59 percent) of respondents say they pick up the phone less because email and IM are so much more convenient. 

 Chronic Multi-taskers: 75 percent of young adult respondents admit to using IM because they can multitask while only 46 percent of those aged 31-50 use instant messaging to have more than one conversation at a time.

About Yahoo! Messenger

As one of the most popular instant messaging services on the Internet, Yahoo! Messenger (http://messenger.yahoo.com) makes it easier than ever for people to express themselves, interact and manage relationships with friends and family.  Yahoo! Messenger has a unique and proven history of innovation in instant messaging as the first to offer Webcam functionality, the first to introduce an interactive and shared experience with IMVironments®, and the first to introduce animated emoticons. Yahoo! Messenger continues to the lead the marketplace by integrating with leading Yahoo! services including games, music, photos and search, and providing the greatest choice for consumers to stay connected to one another through text IM, PC-based calling, e-mail, video and mobile text messaging.


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My sister got notified over email that her husband of 7 years and father of their 3 kids wanted a divorce -- glad to see that Yahoo agrees that was bad etiquette.

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