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How to Appear Intelligent on the Internet

How to Appear Intelligent on the Internet

Here are a few suggestions

Phrase your posts with caution. Make your opinions known but don’t force them on others. Expel anger and frustration before typing. Always be clear and respectful. Remember that sarcasm doesn’t always come across the right way and some people may take genuine offense to a comment that was never meant to cause harm.

There are exceptions to the below rules. You may want to have someone you trust look at what you are responding to and your response prior to posting the response. I always have my husband check before I post if I am angry and/or passionate about something.


  • Always cite your source(s) as this makes you look like you really know your stuff and gives you back-up proof that you are correct.


  • Reread your posts (quietly to yourself out loud) while smiling. If you can’t read it with a smile on your face re-writing and/or rewording it will make it a better post (even if you are angry this is a good thing to do). If you cannot do this because you are too angry then you need to wait before posting and/or commenting.
  • If you are very angry – write-up your response – then keep it as a draft. Sleep on it for 24-72 hours then re-read the original post that upset you. Read your response out loud to yourself while smiling, and ask yourself “does this response make my point in such a way that I can be heard”. It never hurts to have someone else look at the post you are responding to and your reply before sending it. Also ask yourself how a lurker will view you in light of this response


  • If you’re angry and it seeps into your every post/comment/email — take a sabbatical from the group/blog/forum for a couple of days or a week.


  • Read all of what someone writes in a thread before responding as reading only part of a thread can lead to misunderstanding due to missing context or reiterating information and/or a question that has already been addressed.


  • Don’t “bait” and ignore those that try to “bait” you. Avoid the slippery slope into insults and focus on intelligent conversation instead. Insults lower your standing in the eyes of fellow posters and will lead to confrontation. Avoid them like the plague!


  • Respond in a quiet and respectful tone – especially to someone who you feel has insulted you – this helps to keep the conversation flowing and helps you in making your point without it being lost in the “fight”.


  • If after reading a post a few times you just can’t believe someone would say that, but think that questioning it in public might lead to bad feelings or might make you feel silly if you misunderstood something, you may want to write the original poster directly (and in a very friendly tone!) to see if you misunderstood.


  • Personal drama does not belong in public/professional forums/groups/blogs. By bringing personal drama into those places you decrease the respect others have for you.
  • Don’t post anything you would not want your mother/grandmother/boss/future boss to see on any electronic medium even if you think you’ve locked it between yourself and the one person you are sending it to.
pixel How to Appear Intelligent on the Internet

About the author

Tasha Turner

I am a writer and a one-on-one social media coach. I teach people how to brand themselves and how to use social media effectively.

Currently I am co-authoring a short story about a Jewish vampire to be released in 2012 as an e-book. This will be my 1st fiction. I have written a number of computer manuals and managed a tech writing group as well as editing others work for 20 years. Tasha Turner is my Pen Name and has become my professional name by default.

Permanent link to this article: http://tasha-turner.com/how-to-appear-intelligent/

  • http://christywrites.hubpages.com/ Christy Birmingham

    I like the idea you suggest of reading the post yourself and seeing how you react to be able to judge the responses of other people. The title made me laugh and the great writing made me keep reading! Well done.

    • http://www.facebook.com/TashaTurnerAuthor Tasha Turner

      Thanks I’m slowly recovering all the post accidentally deleted last week. The beginnings of this was created on a Delphi Jewish forum years ago by about 15 of us. Since then I have continued usuIng and modifying it and hope people will share thier own ideas for how to post calmly while seethInge inside.

  • http://alexiachronicles.blogspot.com Ritesh Kala

    I agree with everything there, but I can never implement it!

    • http://tasha-turner.com/ Tasha Turner

      You are a bit outspoken. LOL It took me years to be able to follow these guidelines and some days I still just decide “forget it” and say what I really want to.

  • http://www.facebook.com/TashaTurnerAuthor Tasha Turner

    It is hard to implement. I think it gets easier to implement as you get older and have more experience with life. Or if you have someone that every time you want to say something and skip the rules you can turn to and say what you want and they can remind you to not do it. I have that someone who stops me all the time from saying what I really want to as long as I remember to drop him a link and then tell him what I want to say to x. The hard times are when he is not available to stop me. But if you commit to the rules and tape them up next to your computer it is possible to keep them. If I can do it anyone can.

  • Madison Johns

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I have deleted more posts than I could tell you. Laughs. I once commented and a review and thanked the person for their lengthy review and she thought I was trying to offend her. Luckily I was able to smooth that one over and she is now one of my beta readers. I’d never offend anyone intentionally.

    • http://tasha-turner.com/ Tasha Turner

      Its funny how something we think is positive can be taken as a negative. Good for you for working with her and turning her into a beta reader!

  • Maria Powers

    Great points all. Thank you for writing them down.


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