When’s the last time you had a conversation with someone, in person? Not an IM, FaceBook rant, email, Skype or even a normal telephone call—but an actual face to face conversation with someone? Sitting at the local coffee house with a girlfriend while you check-in, update your status and respond to umpteen different text messages doesn’t really count. Maybe you see it as multi-tasking. Guess what? It’s rude.
Along with everything else, etiquette is striving to keep up with the changing times and technology. Netiquette is more than just not using all caps to send a message; it is using basic courtesy within the digital medium to keep things human.
Most who are technically savvy understand the basics of netiquette. They know that spell check is a tool that should be used on a regular basis. They understand that it is not acceptable to use offensive language in posts. They understand that sending a fwd is ok on occasion; but it is spam when it is done for seemingly every message multiple times per day. They understand the difference between a heated discussion and flaming. They even teach their children that cyber-bullying is wrong.
But what about the other stuff… common sense courtesy many of us (especially those of us whom embrace technology) seem to have lost?
Entertainment is not the answer to discipline issues. If your preschooler is making noise during church, handing them your ipod to play Angry Birds is not appropriate. The act of shushing children is acceptable. The “whhhhheeeeeeeeeee!” of a bird being launched through the air during prayer time is not.
A cashier is not a robot. Ignoring her while you instant message with your mother is rude. If you are too busy to have human interaction, use self-checkout or order your groceries online and have them delivered.
Even though there may be only one person on the other line with you, everyone in your immediate area is participating in your cellphone conversation. Bench side at your child’s music practice is not the appropriate place to discuss menstruation issues with your OB-GYN nurse.
Screaming babies are not ok at high school band concerts. Neither is BeJeweled.
Checking-in your location on foursquare is ok. Letting the door slam on the pregnant woman behind you while you do it is not.
Committing to volunteer is a laudable action. Failure to notify those in charge within a timely manner that you are unable to follow through with your commitment is not.
Party invitations are a wonderful thing. Failure to RSVP or to invite extra people without asking the hostess is incredibly inconsiderate to her time, her finances and the feelings of her children.
The examples above are real. They happened recently. The South has been renowned for its friendliness, hospitality and courtesy for ages but it seems to be dwindling at a fast rate. Is it just me, or is courtesy dead?