Sunday, July 24, 2011

'Social' Etiquette

Etiquette, we all know what it means, right?  Right?  Maybe not.  My recent social networking adventures are leading me to believe that many people have forgotten all about manners, etiquette, and the simple niceties we all learned in kindergarten.  Just in case you don't have your dictionary handy, I'll share with you the definition of the word etiquette, as found on

Etiquette - [et-i-kit, -ket] - noun - conventional requirements as to social behavior; proprieties of conduct as established in any class or community or for any occasion.

I'll be honest with you, my first instinct was to provide you with examples pulled from my own personal Facebook news feed, but I decided against it (mostly because I would prefer not to be an instigator).  Maybe instead we could discuss a few things not to do in this age of social media.

Do not:
:Use curse words - Even if you leave a letter out or replace it with a * (the curse word is still implied).  It's offensive, disrespectful, and you never know who will see it.
:Use text-style shorthand - Okay, this doesn't have a lot to do with etiquette, it's just a personal pet peeve of mine.  I mean, really, does it take that much longer to type the word 'because' rather than 'cuz'?  It just makes you appear lazy.  "I totlly 8 @ red lbstr 2nite w/ ma bestie an thn wnt 2 the swimn pool b4 hittn the clbs l8r. OMG it wuz lame cuz nobdy showd up xcpt dat 1 grl... smh, lol. Ima jus stay home nex weeknd... jkjk."  Does anyone else find that super annoying?  I had to think twice as hard to type those 'sentences', wouldn't it be easier to spell real words?
:Air your dirty laundry - Look, we all get irritated with our friends from time to time, but you don't have to tell all 815 of your 'friends' about it.  If you're upset with someone, send them a private message (or talk to them in person, for Pete's sake)!  And, an observation I have made is that the people who regularly profess a hatred of 'drama' seem to have an awful lot of it.  It's easy to say things on the Internet that you wouldn't normally say out loud, because hiding behind a keyboard gives a sense of security.  Don't forget that your words, can hurt people unnecessarily (and, not to mention, get a whole slew of people involved in your business).
:Complain in detail about work - simply because it will get back to your boss.  Everyone is on Facebook these days, someone will see it and tattle.  Use your noggin.
:Share intimately personal details about your life - I don't want to know anything about your bowel movement schedule, your GYN visit, your bra size, your bedroom secrets, your toenail fungus, or how much you hate that girl who you think stole your boyfriend.  You may have a keyboard, but you don't have to share every thought that crosses your mind.
:Post pictures that you may someday regret posting - Remember that other people also can save and store images on their computers.  Information you put on the Internet doesn't go away, it could come back to bite you on the fanny someday (think future job interviews, getting into colleges, etc.).
:Confuse social media with being social - Haven't you noticed that people (especially kids) are becoming incredibly socially awkward?  Speak to your friends (face-to-face) once in a while, it will do you some good.
:Forget that Caps Lock means you are "yelling" - It's also important to remember that people can't hear your tone when reading what you have written.  Be clear with your words and don't use all capitals unless you are ready for the repercussions.
Forget to check your spelling - With websites dedicated to the hilariousness of misspelled words (either from auto correct or true typos), reread what you have written before you press send.
:Say anything if you can't say something nice - Because isn't that what adults are supposed to do?

So now that we know what not to do online, what about in public?  I am particularly talking about using your electronic devices when in public.  Remember that when you are walking through the isles of the grocery store, everyone can hear your phone conversation -- whisper, or hang up.  It's probably not too much to ask to hang up your phone while paying the cashier at the market, or while eating at a restaurant (mostly because it's rude not to).  As much as you would hold a door for the person behind you (and I really hope you would), don't text while you're at the dentist or the salon.  I mean, what is so important that it truely can't wait for twenty minutes?  And also (this is another pet peeve of mine), if you're not driving, lose the blue tooth ear piece -- it makes you look like a dill weed, not to mention that people assume you are schizophrenic if you are facing the wrong direction.

There are also the common sense rules that everyone should follow such as, don't text while you are supposed to be having a conversation with the person in front of you, don't invest more time in Facebook than your family, don't text while you're driving (this really is a safety issue), don't replace all phone calls with texts, and don't get upset when you can't reach someone immediately.  I know, in this age of constant accessibility, it can seem like the end of the world when you can't reach someone, but I promise that they will see that they have missed a call from you.  You don't have to call every phone they have.  Maybe they are eating dinner, or playing outside with their children.  They can always call you later.  Also, try to follow the 9am-9pm rule when making phone calls and sending texts.

As far as true old-fashioned etiquette goes, I really don't care if you know the proper way to set a formal table or the best way to carve a turkey.  Just be polite, use your manners, use correct spelling for crying out loud, and think before you speak (and type).

Thanks for letting me stand my soap box for a while.  And thanks for keeping me In Good Company.

1 comment:

  1. This is my favorite blog so far. I have to deal with blue tooth dill weeds and the one-finger, on the phone business when people come in MY store. Annoying doesn't define it.


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