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!