The relatively new phenomenon of texting which has been added to our increasingly electronic world is something that I think requires an etiquette education. Never before have we been so able to keep in touch with the people in our lives. Never before has information flown so fast and furious around the planet. Never before have bits and bytes of banality been so available. Thank you Twitter ! I have always wanted to be kept up to date on what people are eating, how long they have been waiting in line, and other random thoughts of no consequence that just add to the daily noise of life. Here’s what I’m thinking – stop the madness. Don’t text just because you can; use this wonderful tool for the good of the world. And for the sake of all that is good and pure, unplug occasionally ! It will give us all a break.
Having said all this, I don’t even follow Twitter except where it shows up on People Magazine online. The attraction is beyond me. So far I just do not understand the reasoning but as that’s not the topic for this post, we’ll save that oh so philosophically challenging topic for another time. Twitter – if a name like that dosen’t explain it all right there I don’t know what does.
What I would like to understand, or I guess have other people understand, is that life was just hunky and dory before you could text. The world was not a cold, dark place before LOL, LMAO, and the ubiquitous smiley face :). You did not lose your job if you didn’t check the damn Crackberry every five minutes and answer the latest email RIGHT NOW !!! Now! I mean right now !!! It is crazy to me how many people are constantly checking their phones. Are you afraid that you are going to miss the party ? Are you afraid that someone else is going to get that great big deal and that you will be thereby shunned for all eternity because you didn’t jump on the Crackberry wagon sooner ? Do you see where I am going ? We need some etiquette people. Some ground rules for this texting thing.
For example – if you are sitting in a conference and you are listening to a guest speaker, it is not OK to keep checking the Crackberry and texting people. IT IS RUDE. IT IS UNACCEPTABLE. The real live person trying to educate you or entertain you has probably spent considerable time putting together the presentation that you are now ignoring. They are probably thrilled to little bits and pieces that they have the chance to share their wisdom with you. They are probably assuming that by being issued the invite, the people in the room could probably benefit from what they have to say. Imagine their chagrin when they look out in to a sea of faces all bent over the ever present cell phone and lit up by the eery blue screen while the whir of fingers tapping out messages creates the same noise as a locus infestation. What a fantastic feeling !!! To have worked so hard on the presentation. To believe in something enough to want to share it with others. To have been issued and accepted what appeared to be a sincere invitation to educate seemingly intelligent people whose only life purpose appears to be the use of two fingers to type like someone with St. Vitus’ dance. Can you sense my frustration ? If you wouldn’t carry on a conversation out loud, then I can assure you it’s not ok to text.
I was raised with manners. I was raised to say yes please, no thank you and may I. I take my shoes off at someone’s front door if invited in. I send thank you notes or at least call with a thank you when appropriate. I tidy up after myself if I make a mess (at other people’s homes anyway). I offer to help if needed. And I do not carry on a conversation when someone else is speaking. That is what texting is. It is saying to the other person that they are not important enough for you to ignore a technology that is less than 10 years old and used mostly by semi-illiterate people who use U instead of you and UR instead of you are. Harsh words ? You bet. I sat between two people at a conference recently and they both had their Crackberries out during a presentation. You know who you are if you are reading this and I’ll say to you now what I said then – put the damn phones down. Pay attention to the nice lady at the front of the room. Most of the people you are going to want to hear from are probably going to know that you are busy anyway so they will not be mortally offended and remove you from their contact list if you don’t respond right away. In fact if it is business related, I’m sure whomever is trying to contact you will respect the fact that you are trying to better yourself to do a better job for them ! Isn’t there an out of office message or something on those things ? I am currently unavailable to annoy everyone sitting around me by tapping incessantly on the teeny weeny keyboard that is probably going to give me carpal tunnel anyway. I will return your message when I am done learning and trying to improve myself. If I keep having to type back to you I may miss something really important. like how rude it is to be doing this in the first place. Thank U ! UR the best !
The point of the matter is that there is already a decline in basic manners and decency in the world. This all encompassing sense of entitlement that pervades society and eats away at morals and ethics is so sad. We need to set some standards people ! We need to show the world one at a time that life will not implode if we don’t answer a text right away. I for one will have no trouble busting your sorry butt if you choose to answer a text while we are having a discussion. And if we happen to be in line at Starbucks and I haven’t paid yet, don’t be surprised if your bill is a little higher than you expected. Maybe you should have been paying attention to the conversation even if it was between me and the Barista. How does that snap your Crackberry ?