Vetiquette – the new Netiquette?

I recently attended the CIPD’s HRD Exhibition and amongst the free seminars was one which covered Vetiquette.  Now the presenter seemed to think that everyone would have heard of this, but I must admit not remembering it if I had.  Indeed a Google search shows that unless you start adding some ‘-vet’ and ‘-pet’s it is not a term with a particularly big footfall.  The basic idea in the talk was that Netiquette was somewhat out-of-date as it came out of early web discussion boards and email; vetiquette relates to the modern web of video conferencing, multimedia collaboration, etc.  I did not think too much about this until this weeks BSN MOOC grouped Netiquette within digital citizenship.  How much citizenship and literacy overlap are probably a matter of opinion but it made me take another look at vetiquette…

Safari books online has Vetiquette as the below:

VEtiquette, is coined to represent the special subset of behaviors required in a virtual team and to explore the difference in context that virtual work creates that makes special attention to such behavior particularly importantVEtiquette, which stands for “virtual etiquette,” is required in work that is typically real time and synchronous. Vetiquette guides team members’ behavior as they collaborate virtually either while speaking or writing using Internet, mobile, or video technologies. It can be summarized as, “Be effective, or don’t be heard.” This extra attention to virtual interaction matters because the effectiveness of the team depends on it.

Thus for the Blended Schools MOOC we perhaps can consider the need for vetiquette in fostering young people’s belief to be effective/heard but not pushy/rude when online.  This is personally interesting for me as my workplace performance reviews in the past have identified a need to be more assertive in getting my ideas across.  This is perhaps my oh-so-polite Britishness coming through in online environments or might simply be that I find the behavior of others too pushy and ‘tone myself down’ as a result.  As we all move towards a globalized world this will be increasingly important and it is difficult to get the balance right across borders.  It can also be easier to pick a level of appropriate virtual behavior with someone if you have met them in person.

When I did draft a netiquette policy for a previous job I included both the traditional ‘net’ and ‘et’ issues, as well as those identified as ‘vetiquette’.  I guess I really saw all of it as ‘netiquette’ within information/digital literacy.  There is a little bit about what I did on this presentation but in general:

  • The policy was drafted by looking at existing netiquette policies from around the web.
  • It was not really enforced, instead it was embedded in training resources for teachers and students.  It was up to individual instructors how they might adopt, adapt and enforce it with their own students.
  • One would hope that as time passes people will be increasingly confident in this area and the need to train people in vetiquette will be something for schools rather than the 16+ education providers.  Thus it is great to see it being considered in the BSN MOOC (see last two blog posts for more on this).

Author: iangardnergb

My name is Ian Gardner and I am interested in various topics that can be seen as related to learning, technology and information. To see what I am reading elsewhere, follow me on The Old Reader ( and/or Twitter (@iangardnergb).

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