I have talked before about the concept of digital rudeness. In part because my quest for connection and interaction is one of the reason that it is possible. In the past couple of weeks I have been talking to my sons about that concept. Making it clear that you should never take your phone out of your pocket while another person is talking. You can say “excuse me, I am expecting a really important text” and then take your phone out if the other person acknowledges you. But just taking the phone out is rude.
It is in part because of the quest for connection, of course that the problem exists. In part as well because of some other changes. For example people not wearing watches makes it OK to take the phone out of your pocket to see what time it is. Frankly that is part of the problem. I would have thought that the rise of smart watches would have pushed that problem to the right but well it hasn’t.
I won’t bore you with rules and lectures. Just put the phone back in your pocket. There is no text that is that critical that the person who urgently texted you won’t text again. Or, politely tell the person you are expecting a critical text. Explain that the incoming phone call is critical. The other person, if engaged and informed won’t stop you.
Technology is an amazing boon for all of us. We just need to make sure we aren’t pushing people away with behavior. If someone is talking to you in person, ITRW listen, converse, talk. The virtual world will always be there. Like I started with, I know I am part of the problem here. While I certainly can do better. In fact, I am working on doing better every single day. I try to take calls after I tell the person I am with that I have to take the call. I do not answer calls from people I do not know or numbers I haven’t seen before. I use NoMoRobo, to reduce the number of robot calls so I am less tempted to answer sales calls.
It is a conscious effort I am making. I understand the desire to connect. I am part of the IT professionals that built the systems you are using. I am part of the original problem. I understand that I am in fact part of the problem. I understand that I helped build the systems that now are the problem. That I sought ever more connectivity. I am Ozymandias. I am the statue buried din the sand. There is nothing around me except cell towers and the ground littered with malfunctioning devices.
I acknowledge that my quest for connection is part of the problem here. I am not above self-criticism. I helped build the problem. I am starting with myself when it comes to solving the problem. I will, I do and I will continue to work on improving myself. I will not take my phone out of my pocket. I will not glance down at my watch constantly. Glancing at your watch is the universal how much longer with this take signal. I won’t do that. I will not look at my watch screen that also provides me with who is calling, unless I tell the person first.
Look this world of ours is hard enough without us extending the reality of rudeness even further. I understand that the concepts of and the reality of connection are part of what is both right here and wrong here. We need to be, want to be and have pushed to be connected so we fight for the right. Let’s just make sure we are connecting at the expense of humanity.
Now, please excuse me I have an incoming cellular call that I have to take.