Emily Post in the 21st Century

Most people have heard of Emily Post, one of the 20th Century’s foremost authorities on etiquette. Often defined as “Common Courtesy” or “Politeness”, etiquette is now more important than ever in today’s world of gadgets that distract. In fact, it has led to a new term, Netiquette, Meaning, “Etiquette on the Internet”. This can be expanded to include all use of personal technology, such as cellphones and music players.

Everything about netiquette can be boiled down to one principle:

Flesh and blood are more important than Silicon.

What does this mean in Real Life? It means, experience Real Life, not Virtual life! The people around you are always more important than whatever is going on in your gadget. Very few calls and texts are so important they need to be dealt with right away. Some ways you can practice this:

  • Never text at the dinner table unless you’re eating alone.
  • No playing with your phone at work unless it’s truly work-related! Your employer is paying you to do Company business, not personal business.
  • When in a public place, if you make or take a call, don’t be loud and don’t speak of private matters. Loud arguments in a public place are an embarrassment.
  • When in Church, the movies, a library, a meeting, or the dinner table, unless you’re expecting a very important call, turn your phone off or at least silence it and let calls go to voice mail. That is why they invented it, after all.
  • Don’t walk and text. Not only will you look stupid, but it’s rude and a good way to walk in front of a bus. You don’t want to show up at the pearly gates and explain that!
  • Don’t drive and text, either. See above.
  • Wearing headphones in a public place might be rude, depending on the place. It might also be dangerous. At the very least, don’t expect people to talk to you. They don’t want to compete with your music.

The most important principle to observe is, when you are with someone, be with them, give them your undivided attention, and save the virtual friendships for later. Live in the here and now.