Untangled: Lizzie Post's Tech Ettiquette Basics

Untangled: Lizzie Post's Tech Ettiquette Basics

screen queen.

iGroan. A recent study shows that seventy-five percent of U.S. adults agree that mobile technology manners are worse now than in 2009, while nine out of ten say that they too often see folks misusing modern devices: obnoxious offenses such as texting or sending emails while walking or driving, checking their phone during social gatherings or other special occasions, and even “using mobile devices while on a honeymoon”. Ugh.

Only nine percent of adults don’t own a cell phone, tablet, or laptop and that off-the-grid demographic is steadily declining. From creepy to cringe-worthy, “public displays of technology” continue to climb as  mobile our devices grow more integral to our daily lives but according to Lizzie  Post’s rules of thumb, a little common sense can go a long way.  Lizzie is co-author of Emily Post’s Etiquette, 18th editionGreat Get-Togethers , and wrote How Do You Work This Life Thing?. She is also the great-great-granddaughter of prominent ettiquette expert Emily Post, whose name is synonymous with civilized behavior and good manners.

“Unless an urgent call is expected, it’s still considered bad manners to leave your phone out at the table. Oops.”

Refinery29 and Miss Post declare public restrooms (“just don’t take it out — it makes people feel weird”), theaters, waiting areas, lines, gyms, coffee shops, elevators, trains, buses, and restaurants all completely off limits for picking up your phone to chat. “If you do have to take the call,” they cautioned, “be quick and quiet, and try and step away, as quickly as possible. Yes, those seem like no-duh rules, but that’s what makes them work in a real person’s life. ”

And unless an urgent call, that you plan to take outside obviously, is expected, “it’s still considered bad manners to leave your phone out at the table.” Oops. In fact, your phone should be stowed away in most social situations. “When you’re at a movie, play, or other indoor performance, you can leave your phone on vibrate if you put it away, but it’s definitely not okay to pull your phone out and check or send text and emails during the show. Everyone sees the glow of your cell phone — even when it’s in your bag — and you know it.” Amen.

Other exceptions depend on the environment. If  your group is a particularly social set of people who are all glued to their phones, in a casual environment it’s ok to follow suit. The same applies to work functions, such as meetings and luncheons, where all of your peers have a laptop open. But, no matter what the circumstances, “if someone is giving you their full attention, know that they deserve to have yours, too.”

The content of quick correspondence matters as well as the time and place.”Basically, don’t text sad news or any serious work information, don’t take for granted that everyone has unlimited texting, and don’t freak out if someone doesn’t immediately text you back (since you don’t know when they will actually read your text).”

Are you guilty of any of these terrible tech offenses? Will modern manners eventually catch up to the tech boom or are we doomed a culture of rude communication? Casandra Armour

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