Technology has crept up on us and invaded our personal space but we kinda like it. If we are old enough to remember what a landline is it’s good to brush up on some technology etiquette. If we are too young to remember phones pre-version iPhone 4 it’s high time we went over a few ground rules so we can all move forward and stay sane.
1. Googling Not Oogling
You’ve seen that couple dressed up, romantic candlelit dinner, great wine selection and tastefully presented meal. They’re sitting face to face and they’re both on their phones sitting in silence. There’s a time and a place for googling or checking instagram but surely not while digesting. Whatever happened to mindful eating and chewing 100 times before you swallow? The person sitting opposite you either loves you already or would like the chance to get to know you so put down your gadgets and let old fashioned conversation flow.
2. Using speaker phone and on hold in public
I hate being placed on hold to box-ticking organisations too, but hearing someone else on hold is even worse. If you’re listening to elevator muzak while in the virtual phone queue please make it your own personal hell and don’t share the experience. Use headphones or let the music gently massage your temples by placing the handset to your ear please.
3. Overusing LOL
It’s fun to make people laugh, but half the delight of the deliver is not knowing if it’s going to elicit a guffaw or a frown. Oh, the suspense. When did we ever let LOL creep into our lexicon? It’s ok to tell someone how amusing they were, you know…that day when we were texting about our year nine science teacher….but limit the LOLs, and when unsure of suitable synonym there’s always emoticons.
4. Food shots
If a professional foodie you are not, save us from the foodie shots. Home made haloumi, self-made sandwiches, pertly constructed pizzas. It’s ok to leave them off the Facebook timeline. We still love you, you’re still mysterious, fear not, friends.
5. Bathroom shots
Not sure when it became the norm to turn the mobile phone around in the bathroom and take a selfie of your abs, pecs or upper body but whenever I see one of these photos, one particular word springs to mind – yuck. If I want to join you in your toilet cubicle I’ll let you know, via automated email preferably somewhere from Fiji. ‘Less is more’ is best left to bathroom selfies, home decorating, jewellery and whispering during movies.
6. Unnecessary phone calls
Besides death and taxes we know one more thing, the phone WILL ring, and ring and ring and ring. Only you have control over when you answer it. Maybe you’re ok being mid-sentence and your listener prioritising their phone caller over you. Feel free to suspect the real life person in front of you, whether they are a customer or a friend, feels small and insignificant like a disposable piece of chewed over gum under a school desk.
7. Did You Check With Me?
If you’re in the habit of mindlessly tagging friends to your social media feeds, consider this: They might not like that. There’s a reason organisations ask you to sign photograph permission forms, asking your consent to be used by their media. Some people prefer to fly under the radar or may not want their weekend activities broadcast to your followers. They may not like the photo of themselves. It might seem strange if you’re always happy to be tagged and broadcasted but to some it can feel a little like violation to turn an intimate group dinner into a 100 plus news feed item.
Let’s keep treating people the way we’d like to be treated, technologically speaking. When all else fails keeping your phone zipped in your bag will solve all your problems, well, maybe not your eczema or your love life.