With the evolution of the digital age comes a whole new set of complexities when it comes to respecting those around you and being mindful of social etiquette. We are presented with a myriad of new behaviors, programs, and tools which come with a specific or implied set of expectations as to how one should interact with others via technology. Whether its taking screenshots of conversations, texting at the table, or utilizing any other digital platform, there are certain ways we can honor both the people we interact with and the technologies we use.
One primary rule to keep in mind when using technology is to keep it private and out of sight whenever possible. Taking screenshots of a conversation is a prime example of this breach in etiquette, as nothing expressed over text or email should be shared publicly without expressed consent. It is important to remember that these exchanges may still be sensitive, confidential, and deemed personal, regardless of the medium. Online cameras should also be treated with care as broadcasting to others can very easily cross an invisible but evidently-real boundary of privacy.
Besides looking for breaches of privacy, being mindful of tone and language is another aspect of etiquette in the digital age. This type of communication is a bit void from the nonverbal cues that traditional speech contains. We must thus be doubly aware of how our words may be interpreted, ensuring that not just the message is clear, but also the attitude and emotion behind it. It is helpful to remember that written communication should still maintain the same consideration and respect that face-to-face conversations require, and writings should be double-checked before sending to ensure the message’s intention is accurate in its interpretation.
Digital conversations should remain civil and orderly. Things like name-calling, trolling, and passive-aggressive tactics should have no place in digital interactions as they are disrespectful and unproductive. What might seem like harmless joking can often be read as cutting and hurtful. Thus it is important to ensure people feel respected rather than attacked during a conversation online.
Maintaining space and courteousness between oneself and their device can go a long way. Using any type of technology during times that should be spent bonding or socializing with the individuals around us such as meals, family get-togethers, or dates, is an easy way to display a lack of consideration for those present. Phones, would you believe it, can wait!
The digital age has brought about a new landscape for how we conduct ourselves and our social interactions – one that requires an awareness of privacy, tone, language, courtesy, and even spatial awareness. Yet, if we take one thing away from the lessons of etiquette, it is that respect and consideration for both the people and technologies that have become a part of our lives must never go out of style.
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