In today's society, tech has truly taken over social situations more than we like. We also seem to forget how convenient it is to have a device
in our pockets that is millions of times more powerful than the equipment that landed us on the moon in 1969. With this amount of computing powerful
available to us, we have the ability to do just about anything, anywhere, at any time, limited only by our imagination. But for the most of us, we use
this amazing power to check Facebook, text friends, and play games. With this great power, there comes responsibility and boundaries set in place to ensure we all use technology
in a way that still acknowledges and respects each other as we have through the ages.
Out in Public
- Most people know you have a smartphone for taking pictures, just ask people if you would like to take their picture first, maybe even compliment them before you do.
- When crossing streets, take your headphones off and quit texting! Not everyone will notice you, so you better be ready to notice them!
- Selfies have been killing more and more people, if you have to have a certain picture in a dangerous location, have someone else take it for you!
- Keep your voice down when talking on the phone in a public area, or try to step out of the room or area. No one wants to hear stories of your dog Buster.
- If you enjoy texting and driving, you probably don't care much about your life or others. There is so much evidence out there that confirms that texting and driving is as bad as, or worse than drinking and driving. Here is a simple answer, OK Google, call Mavis. Or Ok Siri, call Bertha.
Social GatheringsAlways keep in mind that most people are digitally linked to each other 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Typically, most people have to make a targeted effort to disconnect from their devices for a specific period of time such as a camping trip with no WIFI, long road trips across the country, or weekend trips to a less populated area. So when you purposely plan, schedule, and attend social events such as a dinner party, night out with some friends, or a date with your significant other, understand that you are always digitally linked outside that venue so cherish the time you spend face to face with other people. We as humans were built for close meaningful relationships with others, so avoiding communication the way we were meant to could be detrimental to your overall well-being. There is plenty of evidence and research that backs this up, feel free to Google this.
However, there will be some situations where you would like to keep your fellow phone huggers from dazing into a trance of social media. Check out these few tips to break the spell:
- Set expectations ahead of time in a respectful way. Sit down and ask everyone to throw their devices in the middle of the table, first to look at one, pays for dinner. Even if you are not completely serious about the request, most people will get the hint.
- Do not make chargers and outlets readily available to charge their devices, if they really need to make a call, they will ask someone else.
- If you are at a home, ask them to drop their device on a shelf as they walk in, inform them you are trying an experiment the cell company asked of you to improve your digital frequency modulation reception, or some other believable technical jargon, people rarely will ask follow questions.
- You can also direct them to this article ahead of time and have them read it through.
- But most of all, we all should understand technology's power, put it in its place, and allow it to serve us, not serve the likes of it.
TextingA text message has almost completely replaced a phone call for quick information and coordination. People sometimes gasp at the phone when they receive a call from an unidentified party. It has become common place to reach out to someone via text first and have them call you back when they have time. Phone calls, as with face to face communication requires instant feedback, this is not the same for text messages. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Since the text message is so common now, as compared to the phone call, you lose that instant feedback mechanism you get in a phone call. Even though you are not 'required' to answer immediately via text, it is always good to acknowledge their communication.
- When receiving texts, do your best to acknowledge that a request for communication was sent, this involves something like, 'I got your message, I will get back to you shortly'. I will typically start the conversation with a text, if I get no response at all within a few hours (maybe they cannot check phone until lunch or after work), I will attempt a phone call. Do your best to at least acknowledge the text when you have a chance, even though you do not have an answer.
- When sending texts, use the same guidelines you would follow if you were to call them, do not text before around 8am and after 10pm, as you would a phone call.
- When sending the same message to multiple recipients, keep in mind that most phones, including the iPhone, will classify the protocol used to send the message from SMS (standard text protocol) to MMS (multimedia or photo protocol). Occasionally, when this is done, you automatically add all those recipients to an unwanted group chat with each other. This starts to create mass confusion if your recipients are not mutual friends. Instead, copy and paste the message to each recipient and send individually. This will eliminate this extremely annoying scenario.
- When attending a function, party, or meeting, typically a friendly 'I'm on my way' text is in order. This acknowledges a specific time as well as provides the host a few minutes to prep, adjust schedule, or ask you a question before you leave your house.
- If you frequently deal with customers or co-workers via text, make sure to end conversations when you are no longer interested or when you have taken your business elsewhere. A simple phrase like 'I'm sorry, I have found something else, thanks for your service.' goes a long way.
- General respect for your common man should be acknowledged in informal communications like texting. How would you like to be treated when you are talking to someone? Usually this behavior is properly seen in a professional environment. Customer Service and price are usually a sliding scale in that the best customer service is usually not the cheapest and the cheapest is usually not the best in customer service. I have found that people routinely will pay more for a better customer service experience, so communicate well with others even through text.
Digital Group ChatInevitably when you start texting, you will want to start group texting to multiple people at a time. This is an extremely easy way to communicate and coordinate events among the same group of people or friends. GroupMe (Android / iOS) is a highly recommended group chat app because it has the ability to seamlessly communicate over both standard SMS (texting protocol) and data via the GroupMe app. In addition, it allows more control over your group with tweaking such settings as notification muting, easily adding/removing members, personalizing group avatars and discussion topics, plus much more. There are also plenty of other worthy group message apps such as Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger. Here are a couple of tips to keep in mind when group texting.
- Remember, anything you say in a group text goes to every single person in the group at the same time, so be aware of what you say.
- Instant notifications on a large scale sent to 20 or 30 people at one time means that every single person receives a 'ding' or 'buzz' on their phone every single time someone responds in the group. Endless conversation on a group chat could be quite obnoxious to a person in the group or physically around you. Be aware of this fact when in a group. Sometimes it is prudent to temporarily mute your notifications of your particular group in the settings of each group.
- Pay attention to the topic of the specific group you are in, if you start a group conversation with one other person, and you realize that only 2 or 3 people of the 10 people in the group are responding to the conversation, consider taking the conversation 'offline', text directly, or even start another group with that topic in mind and add like-minded individuals to it.
- The bottom line to how this should be enforced is dependent on your level of relationship to everyone in the group. If everyone in the group is very comfortable with everyone and you all know each other very well, less enforcement is needed. But if a few of the people in the group do not know each other very well and are only in the group based on the topic at hand, be very careful not to get carried away into other conversations and topics.
- Group Chats are amazing coordination tools for many things like study groups, carpools, board of directors, family gatherings, or just an old group of friends that can't stay away from each other!
Web Forums and Public Internet PostsThere is always an opportunity to comment publically on a public message board or celebrity on Twitter. Mutual respect must be acknowledged even when the level of anonymity is at its highest. For some examples of a few public web forums, check out XDA Developers and Google+ Communities. Here are a couple of ideas to keep in mind:
- Internet Trolls are out there, they purposely sabotoge chat rooms, Twitter, and other public forums for the sheer thrill of it. If you post to any public forum, you will find trolls. They live under the bridges of the internet's vast ability of anonymity, so do not attempt to respond to them or their comments, it is a complete waste of time, do not stoop to their level. Respect others and they will respect you (with trolls being the exception). All you can control is your own behavior, do not attempt to knock sense into senseless Trolls.
- Best practice is to ask yourself, "If I were face to face with this individual, would I still say the same thing to his face as I am on the internet?"
- On forum posts, ensure you provide as much detail as possible. Explain what you did, how you did it, when you did it, and all your associated hardware and software specifications. This will allow a quick response from a knowledgeable individual.
- Posting to Twitter or other public locations typically warrant the use of a hashtag. A hashtag is not for decoration or to further explain your situation without the use of spaces, it is a word proceeded by a 'hash' or pound sign that is used to tag or group messages about a specific topic. For instance, the Tonight Show's host, Jimmy Fallon routinely features a skit called #hashtags. In this skit, he asks the public to submit funny personal stories about a specific topic with a hashtag like #ifIWonPowerball or #WorstFirstDate. People would submit their entries via Twitter with that hashtag then his staff would be able to group or pool those entries together easily by searching for a specific hashtag. When you submit hashtags on your Facebook posts that are only viewable by your friends and you cannot even remember what the hashtag was, it makes it completely useless as a search technique.