Practicing Good Digital Conduct
Ever sat in a restaurant to enjoy your food and suddenly someone at the next table has a loud cellphone conversation about business? Hardly a topic you care to hear about while trying to enjoy your dessert. Or maybe you’re examining email and find a Friendster link that opens to a picture of you in embarrassing poses? Or you’re sitting in a theater, enjoying a movie and somebody’s cellphone rings? Or worse, he answers it? With digital breakthroughs in communications devices comes an ever-increasing need to practice certain levels of digital etiquette of which many of us need to be reminded. Remember, good fences make good neighbors; even if those fences are invisible. Here are a few tips to begin observing digital conduct:
Respect others’ ‘personal bubbles’ by maintaining your own
What is a personal bubble? It’s an area around a person (usually 1-2 feet in diameter) that you should not enter without their permission. When you make loud conversations on your cellphone, you inadvertently enter the personal bubbles of people within hearing range. They will feel annoyed that you have intruded their little bubbles of privacy and peace. Either ask the person calling to call back, or take your conversation outside.
Keep your sounds down or keep them to yourself
Nobody wants to hear wild ravings of your favorite heavy-metal band. Neither do they want to hear your favorite melodramatic 80’s music. Simply keep the volume on your MP3 player down. Keep co-commuters on your bus happy by keeping the sounds down. Besides, you can save your ears while you’re at it.
Ask before you post, or when in doubt – ask!
Even if the internet or your phone are the fastest most accessible ways to share pictures, you have to remind yourself that maybe you and your receiver may not be the only ones actually seeing the picture. Posting a sexy picture of your girlfriend might be seen by hundreds of friends on your online network. So, ask before you post. You never know who will have a copy of your most embarrassing picture to blackmail you with in the future. We’ve seen privacy laws broken involving celebrities, don’t let the same happen to you or your friends.
Twitter with caution, twitter when necessary
With the popularity of Twitter, everyone knows what you could be doing at any time. But nobody really wants to know that you’re about to shower, or about to do groceries. Twitter was created so you could make the messages short, sweet, and relevant. Stick to those rules.
Turn off gadgets when needed
The most annoying moments are those when you least expect a phone to ring. When at a meeting, a piano recital, the movies, or your child’s 2nd grade play, turn off your gadgets. Not only will others appreciate it, this will allow you to focus on what’s most important in the short time you should be paying attention – even if it is a bunch of 2nd graders singing about nutrition in vegetable costumes! They’ll love you for paying attention.