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  • Writer's pictureJo Sutherst

Sustainable Prospects – Digital Etiquette

This may seem like an obvious or needless post, but there are a few etiquette rules that I have been reminded of whilst working on this module and I think it is a worthwhile task listing them here.


The main rules are about emails.  I receive emails as part of my work and am astonished at the way some people write their messages.  I was taught from a young age that unless you are very familiar with the person you are emailing, or you are superior in standing to them, your emails (and letters) should be formal in nature.  When emailing people I don’t know, I still start each one with ‘Dear…’ and finish with ‘Best regards’ or ‘Kind regards’.  On some occasions, I still use ‘Yours sincerely’.

The basic rules I follow when sending an email are:-

  1. The subject heading should reflect the subject of the email in a succinct and clear manner

  2. I research the person/company I am emailing and make sure I address the email to the most appropriate person.  Sometimes, this requires me to telephone the company to find out the name and email address.

  3. I always use ‘Dear…’ when emailing someone for the first time

  4. I always use ‘BCC’ when sending out a group email.  This ensures that I am protecting the identity of everyone I am emailing.

  5. I always check the spelling and grammar in emails before sending – I want to ensure that the first impression is a good one.

  6. Prior to sending, I always ensure that any links I use to direct the reader to a website will work just by clicking it.

  7. In order that I do not block mailboxes with large emails, I send large attachments via the WeTransfer website.

  8. I have always believed that emails should be sent during working hours.  The best times are usually late morning so that the recipient has had time to get into their day.  I never send emails first thing on a Monday (the recipient will most likely be deleting emails from the weekend before this) or on a Friday afternoon (I know I am not likely to follow up emails when I am beginning to think about the weekend).  Emails sent at weekends, lunchtimes and out of office hours have a tendency to get lost in the noise.

  9. I will follow up an email a couple of weeks later, either with another email or a phone call.  I do not want to appear to stalk the recipient.


My rules for the use of social media are:-

  1. I schedule my posts to social media platforms using

  2. My posts are scheduled for 7.30pm and 8.30pm for all accounts (except I only post at 8.45pm for ‘Behind the Masks’ accounts).  This way I am hoping that my followers will come to expect a post at a particular time each day.

  3. I do not post anything that is personal to these accounts.  They are a professional tool to me and I want to ensure that they are viewed that way.

  4. I am always polite online.  I am polite in real life, so would not think of being horrible to anyone to their face or online.

  5. I always make sure that I do not post sarcastic comments, as these could be misconstrued as a form of bullying.

  6. I always thank people for their comments on my posts.  This is whether the comments are negative or positive.  All comments are helpful as I develop my practice.


This blog serves various purposes.  Not only is it a record of my MA journey, being my critical research journal, but it also gives the reader a sense of my personality.  This blog demonstrates (I hope) that:-

  1. I can articulate my practice and its place within contemporary photography

  2. I am dedicated to my practice and its development and contextualisation

  3. I work hard

My blog explains how I see my work and that of others. It adds context to what I have been doing to date and indicates the approach that I take to my work (and the approach that is likely to translate into how I would deal with a client brief).

My blog rules are:

  1. I do not post defamatory content

  2. I do not make political statements

  3. Whilst I do include art nude work, I never post anything that is sexually explicit

  4. I confine my blog posts to those that show how my practice is informed.

  5. I do not post my day to day life on the blog – no-one is interested in what I had for breakfast!

  6. I try to ensure that all referencing is correctly recorded

  7. I share the blog posts (most of them) on my Twitter Facebook and LinkedIn accounts.

  8. I ensure that my posts are authentic and that I do not unfairly represent anyone who has been a volunteer or model for me


It costs nothing to be polite and nice, and may get you noticed above another going for the same role or contract as you.  This is something I have practiced all my life and I am not about to stop anytime soon.

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