Technology has become a part of our everyday lives over the last 10 years. Seeing people running around with smartphones, tablets and laptops on a daily basis doesn’t even garner a second look as it did in the early 2000’s.
Unfortunately, everyone didn’t review their copy of the Common Courtesy Rulebook that should have come with their beloved devices. Annoying habits have migrated from analog to digital and it’s time for a refresher on what not to do with your tech toys.
Loud phone conversations in public
Let’s get one thing clear, person talking loudly into your smartphone in a public place: I don't care about you. I don’t care about your horrible boss. I don’t care about your relationship issues with your boyfriend. I don’t care about your landlord who hasn’t fixed the pipes in your apartment. And, I don’t care about the stupid thing one of your friends did. Neither do the other people standing in the elevator, or on the train, or in the bathroom.
If you find yourself having a conversation while walking into the elevator, put the other person on hold or call them back. Same goes for the train and, yes, I have to say this out loud, the bathroom. The beautiful thing about smartphones is that once you hang up, you can place another call later with relative ease. Even to the same person you were just talking to. It’s magical. And far preferable to being the most hated person on your train or in your building.
Inappropriate tablet photography
Apple tried to make obnoxious tablet photography taking okay with its latest iPad commercial, but it will never be okay in my book. Unless this is the only device with a camera within 100 yards (borrow someone else's and email it to yourself if you have to), it is never okay to take photos with a tablet. You will look like a putz.
Cameras were put into tablets for two reasons: Skype/FaceTime, and for the people who ask, “why doesn’t this tablet have a camera?” As you can see, photography didn’t make the list.
This is especially offensive at concerts. Don’t be the guy holding up an iPad blocking the view of 60 people so you can attempt to capture the blurry, out-of-focus photo that you will delete as soon as you get home. You might as well flush 10 karma points right down the toilet.
Public WiFi bandwidth hogging
So you are sitting in your favorite coffee shop, soaking up the free WiFi rays, and you think to yourself, this is a good time to catch up on your favorite show on Netflix. In 1080p. As you sit in your chair drinking a $7 cup of cold coffee and eating an equally overpriced scone, you decide to press play on the video, and every internet connected device in the building comes to a screeching crawl. The other patrons have begun to realize the horrific consequences of your actions, as their Internet speeds come to a crawl.
As they frantically look around the room in vain, they realize the chances of locating the perpetrator are little to none. To those suffering through your poor decisions, you have become the human embodiment of selfishness. If they figure out you are the cause of this injustice, you would quickly realize the errors of your ways through the sheer evilness of the looks being thrown your way, but alas, you will continue on with your favorite episode of Storage Wars in complete ignorance.
Don’t become a social pariah just to stream your favorite show in public. If it’s available for streaming, it literally will be available forever.
Sharing photos without permission
As you sit in your home recovering from the party you attended the night before, you receive a text from a friend asking why you didn’t attend their get together. You make up some excuse about how you had to work late and were tired. Unbeknownst to you, the friend whose party you actually went to has tagged you in a photo on Facebook, which is now on your wall for all the world to see.
In a social world filled with little white lies, some for the good of others, and some just because you can, posting photos without permission is a grave violation of the unwritten social contract. Check with your friends to see if any lies are in progress before throwing up photos of them on your social accounts. Remember, maintaining a lie is harder than coming up with one. Pitch in, do your part.
Gratuitous texting during a real-life conversation
You and I are having an in-depth conversation about something, and as you begin your sure-to-be rousing rebuttal, you receive a text message. My question goes unanswered, and our vibrant conversation comes to a screeching halt while you pound out an award-worthy thesis with your thumbs, as my disdain for your very existence grows. And now I'm forced to text you the words “LOOK UP” to shame you into acknowledging my existence.
If you have committed this egregious violation without it being an emergency, please apologize to those you have hurt. People still exist in a tangible form, and that form still has feelings. We haven’t devolved into bits of data without the concept of emotions just yet.
We must remember that we as humans still need physical contact with one another, and that everything can’t and shouldn’t be done through a keyboard and screen. Technology is a tool to be used, but using it shouldn’t offend everyone around us. Be courteous. Be thoughtful. Don’t be a tech jerk.