Friday, October 21, 2011

Technology & Etiquette in the 21st Century

So a few months ago I'm sitting around the dinner table with my parents having a conversation about technology. They had been running this ad on the radio for Comcast or Verizon (I forget who exactly) about how the average home has 4 devices that are connected to the Internet. I counted in my home no less than 12, a fact that I was pretty proud of. Ever since I was a 6 year old kid marveling at Pong at a neighbors house, I have been a huge fanboy of technology and electronics. My childhood was consumed with having my own computer and then the Internet and video games and on and on. Let's just say I'm a big fan of free, readily available information in my pocket. "Let's Google that" is probably the thing I say the most in any given week. Nothing makes me happier than whipping out my Droid and looking up the answer to anything within minutes time. The answer is always out there.
No sooner had the braggarts words left my mouth than my dear Old Dad says, "Yeah but things have gone to far, why do you need access to everything all the time?". "It's really pretty simple," I answer. "Now I never have to be left wondering who stole more bases in the American League last year or what movies Tom Towles has been in other before House of a 1000 Corpses because I know I've seen him before but I can't place it." Things like that go unanswered and drive me up a wall. The short of it is that having the answers makes me happy and I don't wander around wasting thoughts on things for weeks to follow only to be replaced by other useless queries that will fade from my mind being answered.
"It comes at too much of a cost", he says shaking his head. "Look at how texting, smart phones, personal portable Internet access have changed the world in a bad way." He doesn't really elaborate and the conversation fades into something else.
I'm still not seeing it his way, that is until I started to think about it. Maybe there is some truth in what he said. Now I'm not saying I chucked my smartphone in the trash, or even stopped whipping it out to solve arguments or disputes over trivial matters. But perhaps a compromise needs to be made. What I think needs to be done is to have a code of ethics drawn up on what is acceptable and what isn't. So who wants to do it? Ha not me, I don't have the time for it. But I still think it needs to be done and eventually, perhaps it will be.
Next time you go out for dinner, take a look around you and see how many people are seated at dinner, but none are conversing with each other. It surprising how many people would rather find out what their cousins neighbor is pissed at on their Facebook status update than talk to each other about their week. Still no law prohibits this and probably never will. Hey some people are really truly boring anyways so no big deal if this what they need to fall back on to get through a painful face to face encounter with someone close in their life...
I was recently at a wedding and realized I had gum in my mouth. Now if my Mom had been there I would have gotten my ass handed to me for entering a church with gum in my mouth, if it's not a mint or hand candy, ie can't be dissolved within a few minutes then it's a major no-no. I got up from the pew before the wedding party entered to go dispose of it and looked at all the people around me using their phones. So what is the rule on this? Is it OK to use the phone in church if nothing else is going on? What about if you look up something that has bad language in it, does that make it really bad? How about those truly perverse individuals that might look at pics of naked girls in church? That's has to be about as low as it would get. However say that buddy of yours (and we all have one) sends you a text blast of topless women and you unwillingly look at it, does the blame lay with you over this? Probably not, but I say it's just best to leave the phone silenced and in the pocket at church. I think you should be there to reflect on yourself and what you need to do to be better. You need to keep your attention together long enough to get the message being conveyed to you by the minister or priest or who ever is presiding over the event your attending.
How about pictures on Facebook? Sure what could be the problem there? I can look at pictures of girls in bikini's that I know without them thinking I'm a old perv, what could be wrong with this you ask?? Well seriously before you start thinking that this is what I'm in to, I do see a major problem with Facebook and posting of pictures. First of all I have seen people race to post pictures of events they have been invited to before the event host or hostess gets the chance to post their own, so we can call the "Thunder Stealing Matter". It happens a lot and it bothers me to a degree. I mean I know people don't mean any harm by it, but their is some etiquette involved with this issue and common sense says that you shouldn't rush to post pictures that you think other people might want to post themselves. The best bet would be to get their permission before posting pics if you think the host is going to do the same or wait until they have done so themselves.
How about posting pictures of other people's kids without getting their permission? I'm really not too keen on pictures of my kids being posted for anyone to see on the internet and not having control over it. Call me crazy but there should be some rules on that one.
So maybe you haven't recently hosted an event you care to share with your Facebook friends and you may not even have children, so you might be thinking, "Who cares?". How about that time your buddy posted that picture of you on Facebook where your eyes are half closed and you look like you just finished a 5 hour session with a bong? Let's face it, it has happened to all of us and it sucks to have to send that person a message asking them to take it down. Maybe people should just use more discretion when posting content that has to do with other people and they don't intend to get their feedback first. We still all possess common sense, it may vary in degrees from one individual to the next, but it's there right? Slow down and use it please.
I've taken too much time writing all of this, I have to get back to my cell phone, I was texting my daughter about a photo she sent me of different fake mustaches and which ones we preferred. That's way more important than this rant...

Leave your thoughts below if you care and thanks for reading.

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