Thursday, 27 February 2014

Social networking etiquette

*
What does a teenager do when s/he is standing in a group with several 'pals' who are all socializing with other not-actually-present people by poking their mobile phones?

I guess the only acceptable thing to do is retaliate - start prodding at your own smartphone. Fight rudeness with rudeness.

Otherwise you just have to stand around like a servant awaiting the Master's orders.

*

Supposing you were standing with friends and instead of talking you pulled-out a book and started reading?

Doesn't happen; but if it did, it would be regarded as rude.

So why isn't social networking in company regarded as rude?

*

What seems to have happened is that social networking inherited the etiquette of the telephone - which has always led to appalling acts of rudeness.

When the phone rang, people would break-off (almost)anything - any conversation, no matter how important or serious, and (almost) any human interaction - to rush and answer.

*

I can remember travelling for five hours, at his request, to meet-with and chat-to to a famous medical Professor. Yet after I arrived he spent almost the whole of our relatively brief time together (including while driving me - one handed - to the railway station in his car) talking on his mobile phone to people he presumably regarded as more important than me.

*

So people give a similar priority to social networking that they did to telephoning - despite that the excuse of expensiveness and urgency (which originally, I suppose, justified dropping everything for the telephone) no longer applies.

Consequently, rudeness begets rudeness.

*