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Are You Following the Rules of Digital Etiquette?

Are You Following the Rules of Digital Etiquette?

Group of friends sitting outside and looking at a girl's phone screen.

New tools mean new rules, and if we’re being totally honest, it seems to be that everyone’s digital etiquette kind of sucks. We already know we’re addicted to those little black holes of entertainment that are our mobile devices, but our on-the-rise tech habits don’t excuse letting our screens come between us and exemplary behavior.

Good manners are obviously in the eye of the beholder, but adding a little extra consideration for people around you almost always goes a long way. To err on the side of well-mannered digital debutante and avoid the pitfalls of digital debauchery, stick to following a few of these simple guidelines around tech etiquette.

When you’re with another person, be with them.

If you’re at dinner with a friend you only really see once a month, don’t be that person sitting there and scrolling through Instagram while you’re waiting to order. Face-to-face time is harder than ever to come by in our 100mph modern world, so make it the most important thing when it’s happening. Whether it’s that once-a-month rendezvous or just a daily chat with friends or lunch with a coworker, make the effort to be present when you’re spending time with other people, and save the phone time for when you’re alone or actually need it.

Don’t assume that everyone wants to hear your phone’s audio.

That new Spotify playlist probably is amazing, but it would be even more amazing in your own private headphone world. Watching meme videos out loud or playing your new favorite song or game with the volume coming through your phone’s speakers are a few of great ways to project some seriously bad vibes (and unwanted disruption) into a crowded public space, which is sure to stick you with some seriously bad karma and a flurry of hate stares. Do yourself and the people in your surroundings a favor and keep your phone’s audio to yourself.

Also, don’t assume they need to hear your phone call.

Can you hear me now? Yes, everyone can hear you, because you’re screaming into your phone in public. The victim on the other end of the line won’t quite feel the high-decibel force of your impassioned lack of volume control as much as everyone in your immediate vicinity will, so it’s possible that the extra exertion just isn’t worth it. Same goes for the over-excited squealers: contain the scream!

Don’t be that person with the flash.

If the answer to “Would it be super obnoxious to use my flash right now?” is anything close to a maybe, then chances are it’s a resounding yes. Smartphones and their fancy cameras are the modern world’s indiscriminate flashers, so don’t fall into the trap of indecent exposure. An accidental camera flash in a dark restaurant is bad enough, but the most notorious culprits of all are the reading-the-program-in-a-dark-theater wildlings. We can only hope that with all that light you’re shining, you’re able to see some of the anger you’re instigating.

Don’t drop the ball while using AirDrop.

Misuse of anonymous AirDrop should be a misdemeanor. We can all appreciate the value of quick file sharing over a Bluetooth network, but things start to get a little unruly when you use your AirDrop haphazardly –– or worse, when you intentionally abuse it to drop unwanted or inappropriate files onto someone else’s phone. Whether you’ve experienced an accidental share of a text convo screenshot to a stranger, or you’ve deviously engaged in a not-so-accidental AirDrop of an anonymous NSFW meme into the Bluetoothsphere, you’ve definitely got some work to do on your tech manners if you’re using your AirDrop less than responsibly.

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