It's a Social Media World

A Discussion on Digital Media & Communication Trends

Now That’s Just Rude – Disappearing Manners in a Digital World

I have a pet peeve. It is the irresponsible use of communication vehicles. I am tired of hearing about the deaths of family or close friends via Facebook. I am annoyed by the overuse of text messaging. I am angry about confrontational text messages. If you have problem pick up a phone. And don’t even get me started on having arguments in comment sections on blogs or Facebook. I apologize for the ranting style of this post, but people need to begin to think a little more about how their actions affect others.

Where have our manners gone?

The social aspect of digital communication does not inherently mean that all respect, decency and common courtesy should fly out the window. What I am witnessing is a demise of courteous interpersonal communication. *insert sad face here* Awareness of how you communicate is extremely important to building all types of relationships from business to interpersonal. This awareness is important no matter what type of communication vehicle you use. I would even challenge that when using digital communication, like text messaging, Facebook, email, etc.., that it is even more important to ensure that you are being respectful. Nonverbal communication is severely diminished in digital mediums making intent hard to discern. Therefore, it becomes extremely important that the messenger be more cognizant of how they are communicating and what they are communicating when using a digital format. The convenience of mobile technology and the perceived anonymity of computer screens does not afford people the right to be rude.  In the words of Emily Post, “Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others.  If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter which fork (communication medium) you use.

Etiquette Resources:

Radian 6 Social Media Manners E-Book

Compilation of How to Use Communication Vehicles

Text Messaging or SMS: SMS is best used to transmit quick, non urgent information. Some examples include questions, scheduling, requests for a phone call, ect..

Social Networks (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin): These mediums are best used to organize groups of friends and colleagues. Some people even meet colleagues and friends through these mediums. Engagement should be friendly, non-confrontational, and stimulate conversation. These mediums are not appropriate for disclosing deep interpersonal information to friends or family because of their public nature. Additionally, they should never be used for confrontational communication or to discuss disagreements.

Email: Email is a great way to connect one-on-one with friends, family and colleagues. It is also a medium where you can have thoughtful interpersonal discussions. Beware of quick, snippy or angry emails. These are best when not sent.

Phone Communication: Second to face-to-face the phone conversation is a dying art. Phone conversations are perfect for most communication in order to ensure that people receive needed information in a timely manner. However, serious sensitive information may be better received face-to-face when possible.

Face-to-Face Communication: All other mediums are meant to augment face-to-face communication. All types of communication can take place face-to-face, but if conflict or arguments are going to occur face-to-face is the best format.

Life be not so short but that there is always time for courtesy.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

2 comments on “Now That’s Just Rude – Disappearing Manners in a Digital World

  1. Amanda, Community Manager at Radian6
    July 20, 2011

    Thanks for sharing our ebook on your blog. Great post!

    • kbconway
      July 20, 2011

      Thanks Amanda. It is a great resource!

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