Digital Etiquette Isn’t Just for Millennials

I joined a colleague for lunch last week and we both put our PDAs on the table as we ordered. When he answered his iPhone, I used that opportunity to check my messages. We finished eating with only a couple additional interruptions, but I received a text message as we were leaving the restaurant. I looked at my Blackberry for a second as I approached the restaurant door–not seeing the two steps in front of me. The awkward fall was one of the least graceful moments in my life.

Thanks to visits to my internist and chiropractor, I’m now fine. But I did swear off unnecessary use of digital technology while walking or driving. It’s hard to break the habit, even though I’ve discovered first hand that it can be both rude and dangerous. So, I was pleased to get an entertaining reminder of my vow as I read yesterday’s New York Times article about digital etiquette. I also realized that I had only written one blog post on the subject of digital etiquette and that was some three years ago. Most of us would agree that digital etiquette has gotten worse since then.

While some too readily blame Millennials for most bad digital etiquette, I feel it definitely spans generations. However, thanks to YouTube, Millennials perhaps do the best job of addressing proper etiquette involving my digital communication tools of choice–email, texting, Facebook and Twitter. All four videos are entertaining and informative. They provide many important digital etiquette tips, including the basics–keep your cell phone conversations to yourself, don’t text while walking or driving, don’t over-post on Twitter and Facebook (no more than a couple times a day–unless you’re in the middle of Hurricane Sandy or being held hostage).

If you see me doing any of the above, please remind me–but not electronically.


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