Zoom and Virtual Platform NETiquette

By: Anne Hwang ‘23


Over the past few months, students have grown accustomed to a new style of learning, interviewing, and even working via virtual platforms like Zoom, Google Meet, and Blackboard Ultra Collaborate. While there hasn’t been any official CUNY announcement regarding the foreseeable future of the Spring semester, the majority of classes are likely to continue being online, and most internships and programs will follow the virtual trend too. With that being said, it’s important to make sure that you know about netiquette and how to present yourself professionally on these virtual platforms.


What is NETiquette?

You’ve probably heard of etiquette, but have you ever heard of netiquette? Netiquette is exactly what it sounds like: net + etiquette = netiquette, which translates to a set of defined rules that are considered acceptable and appropriate for online behavior.   


Zoom and Other Virtual Platforms


As classes and internships continue to be conducted virtually, a variety of different virtual platforms are being utilized, from Zoom to Google Meet to Blackboard Ultra Collaborate. While each platform is designed differently, they share many of the same functionality, including an option to raise your hand, a chatbox, and sharing your screen. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with all of these functions prior to joining any calls to ensure you understand what is happening. 


Raise Hand Option 


The raise hand option is a relatively simple concept: you use it as you would in a live scenario, but remember to lower your hand after you are done speaking if the host hasn’t already done so. Keeping track of your own virtual hand, it can avoid any confusion as to whether you have input or commentary. 


If you are in a class setting, be aware and considerate of your peers in the class when answering questions. It can be harder to take into account your surroundings virtually but pay attention to who has spoken and who hasn’t, as you want to avoid dominating a conversation. 


Chat Box

While it can be tempting to socialize in a chat box, note that it’s best to avoid doing so in a classroom or meeting setting. Leave the chat box as a place for important notes, details, links, or even files that need to be shared with all the participants in the call. When sending messages in the chat, make sure to proofread what you have typed before sending it out. Most of these platforms do not have an option to “unsend” a message, so double check your message to avoid any errors. Messages sent in the chat box should also be concise, specific, and adhere to grammatical and spelling rules. Remember that the chat messages are being held within a professional setting, not an instant messaging app. 


Sharing Your Screen 

Prior to sharing your screen, it’s a good idea to look over everything you have open on your laptop or desktop to ensure that there isn’t anything confidential or inappropriate. If you find something that is unfitting for the call, close that application, website, or document to avoid any embarrassing and awkward situations. After you’re all set, go ahead and share your screen!


Other Tips

  • If you have a meeting or interview, remember to still dress in proper business attire. If you’re uncertain about whether or not you will be required to turn your camera on, it’s best to be dressed appropriately and prepared!
  • Make sure your audio works properly, and if you are joining a meeting with your camera on, inform and communicate with others in your house so they know you are on a call. If possible, you should also take into consideration your background and lighting. 
  • Be ready to adjust to different types of virtual environments and calls. Sometimes what you envisioned to be a serious call may end up being a lot more casual than you thought. Other times it might be the opposite. Regardless of which situation you end up in, observe the environment and vibe of everyone in the call, and adapt accordingly. 


For more information, check out these resources:

  1. https://www.webroot.com/us/en/resources/tips-articles/netiquette-and-online-ethics-what-are-they 
  2. https://sites.google.com/site/groupofthreeeducators/what-is-netiquette
  3. https://www.wsj.com/articles/seven-rules-of-zoom-meeting-etiquette-from-the-pros-11594551601  


Interested in writing a blog for the Career Development blog? It’s open to Macaulay students and alums. If you would like to contribute or have any questions, feel free to email Jamie.Ruden@mhc.cuny.edu.