What am I talking about?
Well, it all started when my two sons bought their first cell phones. Boy, oh boy, were they growing up fast. Too fast, in my estimation. And the last thing they wanted to do was talk to their mother on the phone. So, totally not cool, if ya know what I mean.
Yet, as a Mom, I worked hard to be involved in their lives. I had no girls by the way. So I learned early on, to talk in their language. I learned about cars. I watched B-ball and Football with them. I watched their movies, fixed their favorite foods and danced to their music. Oh, and I also listened to them talk about all the cute girls. 🙂
We held parties at our house and invited all of their friends. There were trips to Hawaii to surf and ski trips to Mammoth and Vail. And one time my hubby and I even chaperoned an overnight excursion to Vegas with their friends so they could all see their favorite musician. Then, afterwards, we took them to New York, New York so that we could all ride the Roller Coaster at midnight together. Yes, we went on the ride. And yes, we
tried to be were cool parents!
Yet, I think the most important thing that we did as parents, was the amount of time we invested into listening while they talked. Sometimes these sessions went into the wee hours of the night. Okay, so yes, I was also a touchy, feely kind of Mom. Still am—hugs being my specialty. But, somehow I knew, as time passed by, that I needed to look for a wireless connection.
So I learned a new language. The text message. Yep! And this little method worked! It gave them the independence and dignity they needed without the intrusion. It was a wonderful way of keeping the bond without stepping over a boundary.
Yet, even though my sons have since moved on with their own lives, I have to wonder sometimes. What has happened since then? What I mean is…Okay, I finally broke down and bought a new cell phone. Well, to be more specific, a smartphone. And with all of the new technology, I want to jump in the game…but what is up with the new etiquette?
Or should I say, the lack of etiquette?
The New York Times had an interesting article last week about this very subject. Nick Bilton wrote a piece called, “Digital Era Redefining Etiquette” and I thought I’d share some of the highlights with you.
Mr. Bilton makes this point, “Some people are rude. Really, who sends an email or text message that just says, Thank You?”
Well then, what about voice mail? It was discovered that most people would much rather send a text, than a long-winded message. That way, you don’t have to declare who you are or even say, “Hello”.
So what about email? Apparently, this method also leaves something to be desired. When is the last time you received an email with the words “Hi” or “Bye” or “Sincerely”? They found the worst offenders are those who leave a voice-mail and then send an email to tell you they left a voice-message.
He, he, he. Hello, we got the message! 🙂
Then, Mr. Bilton learned a lesson. His father had left him a dozen voice messages, none of which he listened to. Uh-oh! Exasperated, his father called his sister to complain. What was the sister’s response? “Dad, why are you leaving him voice mails? No one listens to voice mail anymore. Just text him.” And now, he communicates with his mother, mostly through Twitter.
Iy, yi, yi? Really? I’m not so sure if I even want to jump in this game! Lol!
All this confusion over communication etiquette got its start way back in the 1870’s when Alexander Graham Bell invented the Telephone. People didn’t know how to greet a caller. Some suggested using the word “Ahoy”. Then others proposed the phrase, “What is wanted?”, until the accepted greeting “Hello” won out and is still often used when face-to-face.
Isn’t it crazy how communication has evolved so much given our lack of spare time? No doubt the culprit “technology” has played a huge part in this quandary. Yet, I have to ask, aren’t manners still worth the effort? Because as Dr. Mark D. Roberts of San Antonio, Texas mentions “If you get used to not saying ‘thank you’ electronically, won’t that spill over into your embodied life?”
Hmm, that’s a very good point Mr. Roberts. Scary actually. Although, I for one still want to believe that politeness still lives on in people’s hearts and minds. I think we just get a little side-tracked from time to time and need a friendly reminder. Granted, there are a lot of tech tools available for us to learn and use. Yet, sometimes we all yearn for a bit more of the human touch.
You know, as in, “Hello, I love you!” Remember…I want to jump in your game. Just don’t text me that, okay? Well maybe, if you’re one of my son’s. 🙂
So what do you think? Are you keeping up with the game of technology? Or do you find the whole thing frustrating? Do you think that technology is making people rude, or more polite? What type of method do you prefer to stay in touch? Text, E-mail, Facebook, Twitter, voice-mail? And do you have a story that you’d like to share?
A big thanks to all of you for stopping by and leaving a comment!
Oh. And I wanted to say what a great Mum you are, for being so engaged with your kids…. and listening! They’re very lucky to have you 🙂
Alarna Rose Gray recently posted..Born like a Bug…
You read my mind, Karen! I think a lot about the way in which technology is also allowed to interrupt our lives. Why is it okay for the phone or the text or whatever to interrupt our real life conversations? We tell kids not to interrupt, right? I think that is a form of rudeness, as well. I believe the etiquette will evolve though – like your example of the original telephone manners. Perhaps it just needs time…
Alarna Rose Gray recently posted..Born like a Bug…
Hi Alarna! How goes it with you? First of all, thank you so much for the lovely compliment! I am very fortunate to have two amazing sons. Yet, I completely agree with you on how much technology has interrupted our lives. You’re right, it is rude, but I don’t know how many people look upon it in that way since it’s become so common place in our society. And that was my point. Do we take the time to think about how we treat other people regardless of whether they are standing in front of us or communicating through a wireless device? Let’s hope that etiquette still exists because life isn’t all about us. Thank you Alarna for your wonderful comment! 🙂
Hello, Karen … or shall I say, “Ahoy!” 🙂 I love this topic! I do have a smartphone and have for quite some time and I LOVE it. I view my phone as a way to make my life easier and yet, I’m very careful to make sure it doesn’t pull me out of life. I text, email, Facebook, Twitter … yes, even ‘talk’ to people. It’s a way for me to be connected wherever I am. We haven’t had a landline telephone in our home for years. Everyone has their own cell phone and the kids are required to answer if we summon them. haha! That said, no phones at the dinner table, whether at home or at a restaurant. Nope, that’s face-to-face, valuable family time.
I think it’s important to use technology to make life easier or to enrich it in some way. I love knowing I can get a hold of my children (and vice versa) at any time. But the balance is key so that you don’t technology be an avenue to distance yourself from people and life.
If I’m with someone and my phone is buzzing, vibrating and/or ringing and binging … and if I know my children are safe, I have no problem totally ignoring it and devoting my attention to the person I’m with. In fact, I’m likely to silence it so I’m not disturbed! 🙂
Ginger Calem recently posted..Let Me Help You Build Your Blog
Ahoy there Ginger! I’m sorry to have taken so long to respond to our comment girl. I had internet issues and a dead router. But now I’m up and running. Yay! I just wanted to say that you and hubby are such good parents. Really Ginger, it’s a tough job. And the fact that you curb the phone usage over mealtime is way cool. “Valuable family time” is a must for sure. One of the reasons I wanted to get a smart phone is for the very reason you love yours. Too stay in touch with the new technology. I was afraid of falling too far behind. And I wanted to stay in touch with my peeps! Yet, I have to say that you have to right idea. Balance is the key! Well, perhaps to most things actually. So hard to put into practice. I, right now, am like a kid in a candy store with my new iphone. LOL! Must-keep-my-focus! Right! I’m having so much fun! But I’m putting it on silence as if right now! Thanks Ginger for all your wisdom! 🙂
I don’t have a smart phone and have no plans to get one. I disconnected a few years ago and now have only an “emergency” cell. If need be, I can send a text but even then, I just stay with TY and PLS. Your post makes excellent points. Maybe next text, I’ll use, “What is wanted?” I rather like that. Great post.
KM Huber recently posted..Thursday Tidbits: Digging Deep for “Meraki”
Hi Karen! Wow, you’ve really disconnected, haven’t you? Good for you! My hubby would be right there with you on that one. He hates the phone and anything that has to do with the phone. Yet, sometimes it’s a necessary evil, true? See, I knew from your posts that you were a polite person Karen. I’m thankful for peeps like you who still embrace manners. It’s just part of embracing the art of niceness, of being a kind, caring being. And how does that hurt? I will look forward to your response, “What is wanted?” I like that too! Thank you, as always for your insightful comment Karen! 🙂
I text them and instant msg them and email them – not all at the same time I hasten to add. They just laugh when I leave a voicemail because I leave the day the time and at the end say, ‘This is your wonderful mother btw.’ That gets them every time since I’m the only Scottish person who ‘phones them.
Great post! 🙂
CC MacKenzie recently posted..THE FALL OF JACOB DEL GARDA – Ludlow Series book 5 – preview.
Hi my dear friend Christine! How are you loving your new car? I hope the weather held for you. Nothing worse than driving in horrible conditions with a brand new car, eh? Sorry it took so long to respond to your comment. I had internet issues. My wireless router died. So I’m finally up and running at warp speed trying to catch up. I know what you mean about voice mail. Text, emails and instant messaging is just NOT the same. There isn’t the connection that you get when you hear their voice. And I want/need to hear their voice. I told y’all I am a little touchy-feely about my boys. LOL! Someday, I hope to hear your lovely Scottish voice! Thanks Christine! I hope you and yours are well! 🙂
Ahoy! I think they should have picked that instead of hello! LOL!
I suck at sending texts and I forget to check to see if I have voice mail or missed calls. I don’t have a smartphone and pretty much only use my cell if I’m away from home and need to make a quick call. “Quick” being the key. I’m not one for talking on the phone for long periods. So I guess email is about my speed. I’m thinking of getting a smartphone, so I hope it’s not too hard to learn.
Did it take you long to get the hang of it?
Great post, Karen!
Lynn Kelley recently posted..Happy Saint Patrick’s Day – Photo Essay
Ahoy Lynn! I’m sorry to have taken so long to respond to your comment. I had a dead router and finally got it replaced. See how we are so dependant on technology? Crazy. Anyway, you asked if I was having a hard time adjusting to the smartphone. As you know Lynn, I waited because I didn’t have the money at the time to buy one or keep up the data plan. But in answer to your question, I am having no trouble with the new phone. I got the Apple I5. It is really user friendly Lynn. I love that I have access to peeps while I’m away from the house. But I still want to keep my sanity by not having it in my hand at all times. That, I won’t do. So yep, I’m getting the hang of it! Thanks Lynn! 🙂
I never considered texting as a good way to keep in touch with teenagers, but you’re absolutely right — it’s a bond with boundaries. Apparently, nowadays you can track them on GPS if the phone has it!
My husband and I lament the death of going out to eat as quality time. We’ve banned phones from our meals, but we see whole families, including small children, on smartphones in restaurants. No one talking to each other at all. *Sigh*
And thank you, Karen, for some great insights!
Debra Eve recently posted..Caroline Herschel: From Cinderella to Wonder Woman
Hi Debra! Sorry to respond to your comment so late. I had internet issues. I loved what you said about dinning out. “My husband and I lament the death of going out to eat as quality time. We’ve banned phones from our meals.” I could not agree more. How is that quality time when no one is talking to one another? Seriously, people are way off balance with the phone thing. We used to ban the phone from mealtime. Still do and they only visit now. LOL! Thanks Debra! 🙂
Hi, Karen! Yes, I text and I email and I try to be polite. Sometimes in the rush of things, though it’s easier to just text a smiley or TY. Thanks for the reminder to keep it civilized. 🙂
Lynette M. Burrows recently posted..5 Days and Money Bags
HI Lynette! Of course no one I know is rude or impolite through any means of communication. Or should I say, I don’t know of anyone who would intentionally be that way. We all get busy and sending a text or email is easier sometimes. But I could see from the article that one could get sucked into that way of thinking, especially if it becomes an accepted practice. So I will be sure to include a thank you to you as always for stopping by and saying hi! Have a great week Lynette! I hope all is well with you and hubby! 🙂
I love technology and gadgets, so I don’t have any trouble keeping up. I’m not real big on text messages, though, but that’s more because my plan doesn’t include them and it costs me 20 cents per–which is really a ripoff. I get similar functionality with Facebook Messenger, so I just use that on the rare occasion I want to message someone.
I don’t think any form of communication is inherently rude or not–it’s more in how people use it. Some people use the relative anonymity of the internet to act in ways they probably wouldn’t in person. I always try to treat people online how I would in real life, and that seems to work for me 🙂
Mike Schulenberg recently posted..The Hidden Dance World
Hi Mike! I can see that anyone with mad wack boots would really like technology and gadgets. But what is up with your cell plan? 20 cents is a rip! It’s so much easier to send a short text sometimes. Of course a polite one! And see. I could tell that you were a very kind person Mike, regardless whether it’s in person or online. Yes, it’s working for you! And thank you! Have a great week! 🙂
Thanks! You have a great week too 🙂
I’d have to pay an additional $20 a month to add text to my cell plan. At 20 cents per message without it, I wouldn’t use it anywhere near enough each month to make me break even on it, so I do without. But I think my current contract is actually up this month, so I might shop around and see if there’s a plan out there that gives me a better deal all around.
Mike Schulenberg recently posted..The Hidden Dance World
Hey there MIke! Thanks for responding back to my comment. I had internet problems over the last week and my router died. Just got it up and running. There’s no stopping me now! LOL! Anyway, I know there are a lot of companies out there Mike that offer free texting with there phone plans. There is no way that you should be paying per text. Unless you don’t like to use that method of communication. But text messaging is the most widely used method. I thing T-mobile may be the most affordable. Check it out and may the force be with you! 🙂
I like texting or email because I edit myself when I write. If I leave a voice mail, it’s peppered with um, ah, erm, and little asides. Seriously, I’d hate to have to listen to a voice mail left by me.
Pat O’Dea Rosen recently posted..Keep Calm and Carry Water
Hi Pat! How are you? Yes, it is nice to have the ability to edit ourselves before we press send. Voice mail for some reason seems to intimidate some of us. And nothing worse than hearing your own voice. So never fear, you can email me anytime Pat! Oh, and thank you! 🙂
I have very mixed emotions about technology. In some ways, it’s wonderful. It brought us e-publishing after all, which has changed my life.
And e-mail is a great way to stay in touch with folks who live far away. I often prefer it over a phone conversation. I can write/read when it’s convenient for me and so can the other person.
But I am digging my heels in on the texting thing. I just can’t get into it. I’m not sure that I want to be that connected all the time.
Kassandra Lamb recently posted..WHAT DO YOU DO TO MAINTAIN YOUR “HEALTHY” DENIAL?
Hi Kassandra! I rescued you in spam. Again. Ack, the way’s askismet and wordpress. Drives me crazy. See, it’s all this techie stuff we need to know. Who would’ve thought. Yet, I am with you. Now that I have my Kindle, I love reading on it. It just makes it so much easier to download another book without leaving the house to go to a book store. Sorry book store, but it’s true. We live in another era. It’s just the way it is. I too like email. It really is an updated form of a letter. It’s nice to have the ability to re-read a message when it’s from someone we love. Now about texting. Come on Kassandra. You can do it. Think of it as a mini version of an email. He, he, he. Take care Kassandra. Thank you for stopping by! 🙂
Hey the least we can do is say “thank you” and not just “thx.” LOL I prefer email myself – I have a smartphone, but no texting plan on it. Might be forced to change that, though. Sigh.
Jennette Marie Powell recently posted..Sometimes, you’re more prepared than you think you are, and ROW80
Ah Jennette, there is no peace when the rest of the world infringes upon us. No texting plan included? Uh-oh, that can be expensive. Especially when others send a text to you. I see text messaging on your plan in the near future girl. LOL! And thank you for stopping by! Have a great week! 🙂
I just got a smart phone a few weeks ago, still getting used to being “connected” all the time. Not sure I like it exactly. 🙂 Texting or email has made keeping in touch with some people easier though, because some conversations are better in quick bursts rather than a phone call. When it comes to conversations with my kids, my daughter prefers texting, while my son still prefers actual talking. For now, anyway. 🙂
Coleen Patrick recently posted..How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Hi Coleen! So glad to know that I’m not the only one that waited this long for a smart phone. 🙂 I do have to say that I like it. But my phone was so old, it needed to be replaced. Interesting. Your daughter prefers texting and your son like actual talking. I think that’s really cool for a boy. Talk away I say! It sounds like you have some awesome kids Coleen. We’ll have to get used to tweeting and facebooking on our phones now. I just hope it’s not too much infomation overload. You know? Thanks Coleen! Have a great week! 🙂
I left a big long message earlier, but I don’t know where it went. I’ve been sick for a few days so I don’t feel up to trying to reconstruct all the clever things I wrote earlier.
Just wanted you to know that I stopped by.
w/a Jansen Schmidt
Patricia recently posted..What Haven’t I? – Birthday Edition
Patricia, I am so sorry! I looked in spam and your comment isn’t there either. I seriously don’t know where it went. And I hate that when it happens to me. Well, this just shows that I need to start looking for a new theme. Laird’s been after me for a long time now. I’m also sorry to hear that you are sick. I hope you’re feeling well soon. Thanks for leaving a comment Patricia! Now get back into bed. 🙂