Balance between New Technology and Social Etiquette?

What is going on these days? It seems that every place I go— countless people are looking down towards the ground (i.e. their phones, IPODs, mobile devices etc). For example, I have seen couples who are out on “dates” and although they are sitting across from each other—they are not listening or engaged in the conversation to each other- but instead are focused on browsing the web or texting someone else. If we are not careful we going to have a generation of people with strained necks from spending so much time looking down at such devices.

Another thing I have seen is when you go out with a group of people for an event, night on the town, sports game etc… some people spend more time posting and/or sharing their status updates thru FaceBook or thru other social technologies than they do conversing with the “real world group” they are physically with and enjoying the moment. This is sad but true.

How about this one? How many people will drop any conversation they are having in real time/with a real human… to attend to their beeping phone or mobile device AND thus in short make the statement that the “other device” is more important than the person who they are talking to. This too happens all the time.

I see so many people texting and emailing… that I wonder how many people, even good communicators, have lost the ability to personally communicate as well in real time. Think about it for a second…

All such “non-personal” communications allow an individual time to think and respond accordingly once they determine what they want to say. In other words there response can be carefully calculated and done on that person’s time table. In personal communications (face to face or on the phone) this time lag/barrier does not exist. So, with more and more communications taking place in mediums– that are not personal in nature—my question remains… are people losing their edge in their personal communication skills?

All of these are serious things to consider. Quite frankly, there are simply no rules in society regarding how the worlds of rapidly changing social technologies and basic social etiquette should coincide.

We need a new generation of rules. What rules do you consider important? What things should be considered in terms of balancing the need to be polite to others yet realizing technology is here to stay?

Ryan Sauers

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