I read this article on Forbes.com the other day and was so relieved that I was not the only one that felt that way. My comments appear in [brackets] after each section.
Digital Over-Sharing, Constant Complaining And Other Top Mobile Etiquette Mistakes
How are your mobile manners? How about your friends? Do you cringe when your coworker constantly complains about his life on Facebook? Or gasp at the posting of inappropriate photos to Instagram and profanity on your Twitter feed?
You’re not alone. According to a recent survey by Intel of over 2,000 Americans, most adults believe that mobile manners are getting worse (81%) and wish people practiced better mobile etiquette in public (92%). Meanwhile, the Pew Research Center reports that 77% of Americans now own a computer, 44% own a smartphone, 18% own a tablet—and one in 10 people has all three.
“These devices have made it into the mainstream,” says Intel Fellow Dr. Genevieve Bell, director of user interaction and experience at Intel Labs. “The whole culture is grappling with how to have digital relationships. People are constantly tweaking who to share with and what and on which platforms. There’s anxiety.”
Survey respondents reported their biggest mobile pet peeves, ranging from digital over-sharing to poor grammar. Anna Post, etiquette expert and author of the latest edition of Emily Post’s Etiquette, weighed in on the most common bad mobile behaviors.
The survey revealed that texting or typing while driving a car is the biggest mobile offense, with 77% saying it bothers them. Post is pretty clear on the proper etiquette here. “Don’t do it,” she says. “Safety takes it to a whole other level.” According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, a driver is 23 times more likely to get into an accident if texting while driving.
[This should bother everyone. There is a specific corner I wait at daily where I witness numerous people texting and talking on their phones (both illegal in Washington) daily. Their level of distraction is astounding.]
Pet Peeve 2: Talking Loudly In Public
Some 64% cited talking loudly on a device in a public place as a major pet peeve. In fact, one survey by The Boston Globe found that the No. 1 employee complaint was coworkers talking on the phone too loudly. Post says this is partly a volume issue, and it’s also that people generally wince at overhearing personal information. “It doesn’t matter if you don’t care who overhears your conversations with the doctor, it’s that no one else wants to hear your personal calls,” explains Post. She suggests taking the volume down and keeping personal calls out of public earshot.
[Even though I do enjoy listening to other people’s phone conversations, they had better be entertaining.]
Pet Peeve 3: Constant Complaining On Social Sites
“Nobody likes the complainer,” says Post, noting that 59% of people feel that overly negative sharing on social media sites is a no-no. Plus, you never know who you might offend. She says many people forget or don’t realize that coworkers or customers are following them, and could really do some business damage. She knows a wedding photographer whose clients follow him on Facebook, so he actively tries not to make snarky remarks. The best policy: Keep it positive.
[It is called a “status update” not a “complaint box.” Whenever I read a rant by a person on Facebook, it seems all too passive-aggressive. If you have a problem with someone, do not drag your whole network into it, take it up with the person. If you are looking for support, ask for it, do not post a pouty status and hope people ask you what is wrong.]
Pet Peeve 4: Posting Inappropriate Photos
That picture of you posing provocatively in a bikini or chugging three beers at once? Yeah, no one close to you wants to see it. In the survey, 55% said that didn’t like it when people posted inappropriate or explicit photos. “Many don’t think about their audience,” says Post. “This idea that our social networks are just our closest friends is an illusion. Ask yourself if it’s okay–not just with your immediate friends, but with your boss or aunt.”
[I don’t really have a problem with this one, I think it is pretty funny when people post embarrassing photos of themselves. I especially enjoy it when thieves and vandals take photos committing crimes and get caught because they post them on Facebook. In related news, I hope to post a photo of me doing a keg stand if the opportunity presents itself.]
Pet Peeve 5: Device Volumes Too Loud In Public
“When people watch movies without headphones, it drives me nuts,” Post says. It isn’t just her. Music seeping from MP3 players, ear-splitting ringtones and annoying alerts irk 55% of people. She believes it’s simply disrespectful not to monitor the type and volume of sounds your devices emit, as noise invades other people’s personal space. She suggests using good headphones, choosing inoffensive alert sounds, turning down the volume and being aware of the environment. Sometimes even loud vibration can be disruptive.
[Put your phone on vibrate.]
Pet Peeve 6: Sharing Private Information
The line between personal and public may be more confusing than ever, but 53% say they dislike those who share information that they consider private. Like with photos, Post suggests carefully considering your audience and the type of information that might be, well, too much information. Moreover, she warns to be cautious about sharing other people’s potentially personal information. For example, you may be at wedding and excitedly snap photos of the bride and share them online. However, she may have wanted to choose when and which photos she shared.
[Stop over-sharing. We all know people that use Facebook like it’s Twitter, meaning they post every thought they have, every article they read, every morsel of food they consume. Here is the deal: you are not interesting. No one cares. I have also noticed that the people that post things the most, comment the least. They are all about them. They want friends more than they want to be a friend. Additionally, no one is reading I-blogs anymore, they are tedious and dull.]
Pet Peeve 7: Using Profanity And Poor Grammar
“This isn’t the Wild Wild West anymore,” says Post. “If you wouldn’t say it in a room full of strangers, then don’t type it.” Some 48% of people dislike the use of profanity in digital mediums, and 37% don’t like the use of poor grammar and spelling. She believes it bugs people because it’s viewed as impolite and lazy. If the context is in any way business-related, she advises you watch your language, spell it out and refrain overusing emoticons.
[I am not sure how people get through life not knowing when to use I vs ME, but they do and they create captions of their photographs using the wrong one a lot. I judge accordingly.]
- The Accidental Asshole: Pinpoint How You’re Annoying People and Do Something About It [Annoyances] (lifehacker.com)