Mobile Manners 101: Etiquette in the Era of Digital Disruption

Share:
Experts and analysts continue to exploit millennials as scapegoats in this era of rapid digital adoption, yet anyone can see that mobile usage spans the generations. From toddlers playing with their parents' iPhone in the supermarket, to senior citizens texting from their flip phone at the mall, mobile knows no age limit. Sadly, however, neither does indecency.
Customer Strategy

Experts and analysts continue to exploit millennials as scapegoats in this era of rapid digital adoption, yet anyone can see that mobile usage spans the generations. From toddlers playing with their parents' iPhone in the supermarket, to senior citizens texting from their flip phone at the mall, mobile knows no age limit. Sadly, however, neither does indecency.Just the other day, I sat down next to some middle-aged businessman at my favorite bagel shop and was immediately disgusted by his lack of consideration for the rest of the establishment. Despite the fact that he was in public, he insisted on listening to video after video at full volume sans headphones. Of course, this got me thinking--what defines modern etiquette in today's mobile world? Have we all become so distracted that we just do not notice when other people are being blatantly rude?

Manners used to be an integral part of everyday life, but our self-involved preoccupations have practically erased all remnants of such conscientious behaviors. But, perhaps if we were more aware of our actions and how they impact others, we'd be able to institute new measures that articulate our deepest courtesy to those around us. Here are just three ways in which we can better our surroundings and ourselves when mobile truly begins to disrupt our daily lives:

Be Attentive

We are all guilty of whipping out our mobile device when out to lunch with friends or stuck in an endless work meeting. We have been conditioned to multitask, so checking up on emails only seems natural. But what if the roles were reversed? What if you were telling your friend some deep, dark secret, only to find them engrossed in Facebook? What if everyone in the room was subtly scrolling through Twitter during that presentation you've been working on for weeks? Many disregard the golden rule--do unto others as you would have them do unto you--but active listening and undivided attention demonstrates respect for those speaking and facilitates collaboration and teamwork. So lend your ear and lay down your phone!

Be Present

Every day, we jump from screen to screen without truly taking time to appreciate the things in between. From computer, to smartphone, to tablet, to television--we are almost always staring at some outward stimuli that insists on doing all our thinking for us. We've become so 'connected' to our gadgets that most can't even recall how they used to occupy themselves. (Keep in mind: iPhones have only been around for eight years.) Instead, we need to turn off those tunes every now and then, stow our devices out of sight, and observe all that's going on around us. Yes, mobile devices come in handy when you're trying to avoid eye contact with creepy people on public transportation, but that's not always the case. We must stop to enjoy the world and bask in the once plentiful mental stimulation that comes from within.

Be Quiet

Noise pollution of the preventable variety continues to grow with each passing day as more people begin to take cues from my aforementioned bagel buddy. Many talk unnecessarily loud when on the phone in public, while some actually put their conversation on speaker for all to hear. Other people listen to music so loudly that headphones are null and void, while many skip headphones all together, allowing songs and gaming sounds to permeate the surrounding airwaves. When did such behavior become acceptable? Oh, that's right. It hasn't. Yet so many demonstrate their total disregard and disrespect for those around them by being completely oblivious to the severity of their disruption. Sorry, everyone, but your mom was right when she told you to keep it down. It's the polite thing to do, after all.

EXPERT OPINION
EXPERT OPINION