Disruptions: Digital Era Redefining Etiquette

Description: Some people are so rude. Really, who sends an e-mail or text message that just says “Thank you”? Who leaves a voice mail message when you don’t answer, rather than texting you? Who asks for a fact easily found on Google?

Source: NYTimes.com

Date: March 10, 2013


Then there is voice mail, another impolite way of trying to connect with someone. Think of how long it takes to access your voice mail and listen to one of those long-winded messages. “Hi, this is so-and-so….” In text messages, you don’t have to declare who you are, or even say hello. E-mail, too, leaves something to be desired, with subject lines and “hi” and “bye,” because the communication could happen faster by text. And then there are the worst offenders of all: those who leave a voice mail message and then e-mail to tell you they left a voice mail message.  Read Rest of Story 

 Questions for discussion:

1. Do you feel there is a real difference in ettiquite between online vs off line personal communications?  Why or Why Not

2.  What are your top five pet peeves with other people’s use of digital communication?


20 thoughts on “Disruptions: Digital Era Redefining Etiquette

  1. Oyinkan Bakinson

    There is a very large difference between etiquette between online versus off line personal communications. People are usually more abrupt and rude online because they cannot see the person that they are talking to. Emails are full of grammatical errors, half typed sentences etc. Normal courtesies are not held online. People tend to treat everyone the same way online; they do not remember that there are very distinctive groups of people. You cannot send the same form of email to a friend and your boss.
    1) When people hold conversations that are supposed to be face to face via text.
    2) I despise it when people ask me where I have been, just because I haven’t updated my Facebook status or tweeted does not mean I am dead. I just have a life and I do not wish to inform the word of my every move.
    3) I don’t like it when people call, email or text in the middle of the night then get angry if I don’t reply.
    4) When people attack me for not changing my display picture, I mean it is mine, hence the term my display picture.
    5) When people get on my case for not replying them and I’ve been busy, out of town or even lost my phone.
    6) When people ask a question that requires an extremely long answer via text. Why don’t you just call me? What makes them think I want to spend 20 minutes typing out a text?

  2. Matt Gough

    Yes, i would say there is a large difference in etiquette between online and offline personal communications. Just like it is said in the article, when someone does something for you online, there is no thank you required because it can be seen as annoying, but when you are working face to face with someone and they do something for you, a thank you is in order or else you can be perceived as rude. i have found that it is often a lot easier to have certain conversations with people with text then face to face, because it is easier to get straight to the point and get straight answers. a great thing about texting is that you have the information stored in your phone automatically rather then running around to find a paper and and pen to take a message like we used to do. A major problem with all of this is that the world is losing its face to face interaction that is needed in order for us to develop personal skills and is all turning to digital communication. some of the more pet peeves that i have when dealing with digital communication is 1. having a constant conversation with someone back and forth texting and they immediately stop responding once you ask an important question or ask for help with something. 2. finding out really important personal information about your good friend or family or a social media website. 3. people constantly on their phones with a group of friends trying to have a good time.

  3. Nicole Freeman

    I believe so although the two seem to be merging more and more. E-mails at first tended to be longer and more formal. They are now becoming synonymous with texting. I now receive short, curt emails that go right to the point. I was at first put off by this and still am sometimes but I just remind myself that the person sending the message is probably extremely busy and they are just trying to get their work done efficiently. That being said, I am surprised that the author of this article is annoyed at the word “thank you”. Really?! Have we gone so far down the efficiency road that a simple thank you is deemed annoying and a waste of time?! This I truly find appalling. There is a reason people develop business relationships. They are important. Deciding that simple courtesy messages are now annoying and time wasting halts communication for some people. These devices are supposed to break down walls, allow individuals to connect and be more productive. If people focus simply on the latter (level of productiveness) I fear they are missing the boat. Pet peeves…..I really only have one. Don’t expect me to instantly respond to a text message. I may be having a conversation with someone else or otherwise be occupied. I will get back to you soon enough!

  4. shaunagregus

    It is extremely sad that our society has gotten to a point where we would rather communicate through technology than through face to face contact. Texts and emails can be so impersonal, as tone and mood have to be inferred. Yes, it may make communicating more efficient and convenient but we lost most of the personal touches that a real conversation holds. Top 5 pet peeves about how people use technology:
    1) People who cannot pry themselves from being connected for an extended period of time. Yes, I understand that you’re trying to have conversations with 3 other people over text message while simultaneously answering emails and updating your Twitter, but I’m right in front of you. If you don’t want to socialize in the real world, then don’t make that an option!
    2)People who rely on technology as a God-send. There are some people who whole heartedly trust the internet and all that it has to offer. Need the answer to a question? I’ll look it up, and the first link to pop up must be what I’m looking for. Tabloids? Must be true since these 4 completely unreliable websites say so. There is so much information on the internet and people who are naive to its bounds are in for a rude awakening.
    3)Laziness. The script that people use to convey quick, to the point messages (usually via text) are hindering the vocabulary that was once so natural. Shortening words to save yourself .3234 seconds is absolutely ridiculous. Kids are catching on to this trend and are even beginning to incorporate it into everyday conversations. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t read an assignment written by a junior high/high school kid who slipped in a “cuz” or “lol”. Because we aren’t using REAL words on a regular basis anymore, our grammer and language is suffering.
    4)Using social media to show off. Yes, everyone does this to a certain extent, but those people who post “selfies” every day or are constantly taking pictures of every little thing they do and posting it to show off is ridiculous. If i wanted to know every aspect of your life, I would marry you. It has become a competition; who looks the best today, who went on the best summer vacation, who got the best birthday present. It’s like a huge game of show and tell, and everyone is trying to one-up each other.
    5)Pointless posts. Social media sites like facebook are there to help you stay connected to the people in your life. When i sign on to facebook I do not care that you ate a banana and it was rotten. I want to know that my cousin passed her nursing exam or my old high school friend got engaged. Pointless posts/emails waste everyones time, including the post-ee.

  5. Greg Goodwin

    Oh definitely. When texting or emailing I am much more direct and to the point. There isn’t really any room for nonsense because (1) we use technology to supplement or expedite our communications, and (2) you need the personal touches to get some things across that you couldn’t otherwise. Most of the time, I text or email to acquire some kind of information. The end. There is simply no need to congest that. I think that there is a certain level of etiquette that must be maintained however. For example, if I send an email requesting something, I will often thank the receiver in advance. If something is requested of me, I will likely respond to the message better if it is not written as if the “request” was more of a “demand.” Therefore, it is different, but’s still very necessary.

    My top pet peeves with other people’s use of digital communication would probably be:

    1. More often than not – If you don’t text someone back, you’re probably busy and don’t have time to explain why it is that you haven’t text back. Take a hint.
    2. Useless threaded emails that have nothing to do with me. For example, when people forget that the “reply all” button… replies to all. If it doesn’t concern me anymore, don’t involve me.
    3. I hate reading useless crap. If you want something from me, don’t brown nose for a paragraph – just tell me what you want, and I’ll see what I can do. Same with the infamous “Thank you” email, if it literally just says thank you, don’t expect a reply.
    4. If you are trying to coordinate or complete something that is time sensitive and they use email. Surprise… some people don’t check their email constantly. That’s why we have phones (which offer real, real time conversation), and texting (which offers imitation, real time conversation).
    5. When people hide behind the digital shield and become dicks just because they won’t see the immediate backlash. Enough said.

  6. prashant malik

    I feel that there is a real difference in etiquette between online vs. off line personal communications. When we talk face to face, most of the times we are gentle and talk politely and are nicer to the other person. But people communicating online/texting are very too the point, sometimes it is hard to tell what kind of emotion they are trying to convey, and can lead to misappropriation or misunderstanding of messages. Sometimes texting online can be considered informal or rude. Example – One person instead of talking to his boss face to face or writing him a letter that he is taking a leave for 10 days , but text him online . This can sound rude and the boss may not even reply to him.One should never expect people to be polite over text. Emails, text messages, etc. are some ways to communicate quickly.

    Pet peeves:-
    1) People texting, playing games, or watching a movie when they are sitting with their friends and having dinner.
    2) Using the word k instead of ok.
    3) Using social networking sites as an update of everything they do in a day instead of telling people face to face.
    4) When people don’t read what they are about to send and somehow that makes no sense as it contains abundance of grammatical errors.

  7. Jordan Gibson

    1. Do you feel there is a real difference in ettiquite between online vs off line personal communications? Why or Why Not
    -Oh yes, for sure. I know for myself personally, I tend to communicate a lot differently via texting and social media. The dialogue tends to be shorter and more to the point and also not as serious with common phrases such as lol, smh, and ttyl being used. I think that because everyone in society feels like they are always in a rush to be somewhere this is how they feel they should talk via texting and emailing as well. It is also a lot quicker and more efficient I find, and when I used slang or acronyms I am able to get messaging across faster and to more people, so in general, I feel as if it is a win, win.

    2. What are your top five pet peeves with other people’s use of digital communication?
    -1. When people just reply with a word one phrase or even one letter for that matter. ex. lol or just the letter k. 2. When people take forever to get a reply back to you, when you know that they have been replying to everyone of your messaging all day, and taking on average about 2 minutes to do so. 3. When people don’t proof read what they are about to send and it makes no sense containing an abundance of grammatical errors. It only takes a second to hit send, so maybe take 10 more and check what it is you are about to deliver. 4.When people send you a life story or a long paragraph. For one it is suppose to be a simple text or an email, so who wants to take the time to read that and two you should have better things to do. 5. Finally, the number one pet peeve I have is when people become so attached to their digital communication that it takes over their life.

  8. James Perry

    I do feel like there is a difference in communication between online and personal. But this also depends on who you are talking with and the context of the situation. If you were emailing a boss you wouldnt use slang words or abreviations as you would probably use with a close friend. Even with online communication it seems that if we resort to more slang and shotened words, the ettiquite is diminishing and manners are going out the window when engaging in text messages and online social media sites. Face to face comunication today surely isnt what it used to be. It is becoming more and more inconvenient to actually meet with a person and talk with them face to face. Society is excepting this, and that is the sad part. It is extremely annoying when you are talking with someone and all they are concerned with is theri text messages or social media updates and continually text and check facebook. I think that is extremely rude. Like I said previously, manners are going out the window and society is just accepting all of this and it is becoming a norm. Technology and innovation are great things dont get me wrong but their should be certain ettiquites that shouldnt be effected and taken into consideration. Deffinately a time and a place for the use of technology.

  9. Kathie

    I definitely believe that there is a difference between online etiquette and offline communications. I love being able to communicate through texting, Facebook messages, or email. A lot of the time it’s way easier than calling somebody or waiting to speak to them in person- you never know when somebody is too busy to talk. Although I do think that online etiquette can be improved. There are things in this article that I do and don’t agree with. I don’t think that leaving a voicemail is impolite. Sure, it takes a little more effort to check your voicemail than it does to open a text message but it’s still not a big deal. It takes like 30 seconds out of your entire day to check your voicemails. If you are going to whine and complain about people leaving you voicemails because they want to get in touch with you, go to Telus or Rogers or whoever and get rid of the voicemail feature! I do, however, agree that it is not “proper etiquette” to ask somebody questions that you can easily find online. It would take less time to just google the question and get your answer right away than to text somebody and have to wait for their response.

  10. mark schmitz

    I tend to keep online communication very too the point. I recognize that my message can be decoded wrong so I use strategic grammar and structure.
    I see a huge difference in the way etiquette is displayed through online mediums. Shy people become public speakers and small people become big. The online version of communication offers somewhat of a wall that distances you from your communication partner. No other place do I see etiquette so offside than in an online conflict. Watching two people go at it over a text or email is really something. I have a friend who recently ended a relationship using texts and email; man was that sad. They called each other all sorts of things. Drawn out in long narratives, they used words they wouldn’t otherwise use and mentioned things I’m sure they would never bring up.
    5 pet peeves:
    1-The Facebook update: I don’t frequent my Facebook page. I use it mainly to keep in touch. I really don’t see why people use it for telling people what the &*# @ they’re doing every 20 minutes.
    2-That is all

  11. Edward Agyapong

    1. Do you feel there is a real difference in ettiquite between online vs off line personal communications? Why or Why Not
    OOh yes i do believe there is a very big difference. Why? Because people were more courteous talking to other humans face to face then than now online. Offline you can tell emotions and actions but online you dont. When you ask a simple question everybody tells you to google it. I mean i know i can google it but I ask because i appreciate the face to face conversation and the exchange of curtisse amongst humans. There are certain things we get answers for online that is not appreciated. An example is you asking someone who has a very nice and beautiful name he meaning and she telling you to google it. I mean yes I might find the meaning of your name on Google or i might not, besides engaging in an offline conversation was the intention for the question.
    Sending emails and never getting replies because whoever is receiving the email has an enormous number of them to reply in that order before getting to yours. The same applies to text messages. Your land lord sends you a text asking for his rent when he owes you money you worked for and yet not paid you, you ask him when you receive your pay so you can pay him his rent from that and he never replies. Then later you realize he cashed out your post dated cheque when you have no money in the account. People tweeting , facebooking and sharing pictures when you are trying to get their attention or assistance amongst other are some of the things that irritate me about peoples wrong use of digital communication.
    2. What are your top five pet peeves with other people’s use of digital communication?

  12. Ida Draper

    I find there is a real difference in the etiquette that we use on and off line while in personal communications. There are also times where it is not always appropriate to use text messages or emails to communicate. There are many messages that either take too long to type out or the message is a rather complicated one and meaning may be lost when it is sent over email or text. We all still have phone that can call out and receive calls not just text and email. If you were to go on holidays then text your boss when you work again you might not get a reply due to it being rather informal and not an appropriate form of communication; you might even get upset if your boss does not reply within what you think an appropriate amount of time is. But in about a minute on a phone call, you can call work, ask when you work next and give them a thank you. A case where I found that all these new and shiny forms of communication are slowing down the communication process and not because of “time-wasting forms of communication” was when I had a relative leave this world. It took two weeks for the power of attorney to take the time to email me 2 lines about what had happened and another 3 weeks to reply when I requested feather information. A few minutes on the phone could have answered all questions and saved both parties ample time from having to sit and wait and it would have saved the frustration that built when communication was not achieved within what I felt was an adequate amount of time. Email is a highly effective form of communication but it is becoming rather popular to think to yourself “I will reply to this in a bit” but that bit of time never seems to happen.

  13. Alex King

    It almost saddens me that we have this issue today. I hate the etiquette we have with the new digital age. No one asks how people are anymore. The conversation jumps around in random format until someone gets some information and then the conversation is just left there where its picked up on later. I often have people who are impatient when I try to observe the pleasantries. I will agree with voicemail. Complete waste of time. Personally, I think this is what caller-ID is for. If I miss a call I know who was trying to call me and I can get back to them ASAP. I don’t mind a text message but I really would prefer to call and set something up that way. Less messy, much faster, and you dont have to wait around for someone to respond! Nothing worse than waiting for a response for something you are trying to plan. end rant.

  14. Jessi Chrapko

    I think there is and/or should be a difference between online and offline etiquette, as well as a difference in etiquette depending who you are addressing online. As mentioned it some of the previous comments, it is important to address people with the proper titles, greetings, etc in a professional email or other form of online communication compared to the type of message you would send to family and friends. I think manners are still important to include in online communications, they just need to be short. Sometimes people also associate getting a “thank you” message with the idea that the other person is letting them know they received their message. Some may think that voice mails and thank you messages are a waste of time, but I think they serve a purpose and that people need to take the time to be considerate these days.

    Top pet peeves with how people use technology:
    1. Someone being on their phone texting, etc. the whole time you are trying to have a conversation
    2. People texting, playing games, etc on their phone during a meal
    3. Facebook posts that are trying to be funny but are really just stupid and annoying
    4. People that abbreviate so many words in a text that you don’t know what they are trying to say
    5. Google might have a lot of answers but if I’m asking you personally, it means I want to talk to you and know what you know, not Google

  15. Nicole Clyne

    Yes there is a difference in online and offline etiquette. People are not afraid to say what they really feel online, whereas people are more censored when they are face to face with the person. People do not think about where they can find the information they need, if they try to google it before any other source they will most likely find the answer. This will save the person a lot of time and effort. It is nice when people are polite and send you the thank you email, but it is a waste of the senders time as well as the receivers. Yes people need to be polite when they interact with others, but don’t waste other peoples time.

  16. Justeen Kolody

    There is now an enormous difference between online and offline etiquette, now people find it cumbersome to even share simple pleasantries. I mean sure I would like some people to get to the point right away, but I do appreciate a simple please and thank you. But now our society sees time as one of the most valuable asset, I’m not saying its not, but people should really have the decency to at least ask in a polite manner. Usually when people rush into emails, or IMs they come off sounding very irritable and difficult to talk to.
    My top pet peeves are
    1) When people cant bother with a please or thank you
    2) Taking the time to call, and not bothering to leave a voice mail
    3) Using twitter/Facebook as a update of every thing they do in a day
    4) Google does not always have the answer; maybe you just want to have a lively conversation
    5) Reading and sending a million emails, which could have been avoided with a 5 minute phone conversation.

  17. Jordan Slemp

    This article brings up a lot of true points. I’ve noticed older people really struggle with gathering information through the computer. For example, people phoning the store I work at asking for store hours, if we carry a particular product or if we have that product in stock. All of those questions can be easily answered on the internet. As far as etiquette goes, you shouldn’t expect people to be polite over text. Emails, text messages, and that are all ways to quickly communicate. If you want a heart felt, emotional message or conversation you should really be speaking face to face. The amount of emails and text messages the average person receives in a day is huge. They don’t have time to go through and read page after page just to be polite. Those types of communication medians should be brief and to the point.

  18. Haley

    I think there is a defenite difference on how people communicate online vs offline. People online/texting are very too the point, sometimes it is hard to tell what kind of emotion they are trying to convey, and can lead to mixed messages. It is extremely true that whenever someone asks a question the first thing I think of is Oh well google it! Google knows everything, and it is a sure source to find an answer in a matter of seconds. Sometimes I think it is sad how the world is becoming more technological because there is lack of personal conversations between people, people become less social and friendly, but then again technology has made it very convieneint and efficient to communicate to people miles away from you. This is especially helpful for companies who have to communicate back and forth, for obvious reasons. I agree with the author, I don’t mind using these technologies, and the simplier, quickier ways to communicate but lets never forget our manners! Be kind to one another!

  19. Tayler Orban

    I do feel that there should be a difference in etiquette between online and offline personal communication but it also depends on the context. If you are communicating online with someone in the professional world then you need to take that into consideration and use the appropriate language such as “Hello Mr/Mrs or Sincerely (your name)”. These are important because people in the professional world want to know that you are able to use online communication but they also want to know that you are serious. If you are contacting them how you talk to your friends then it becomes casual and an issue of respect. There is etiquette for online and offline communication that has become the unspoken rules. If you are communicating in an informal way then there is no need for the formal greetings or closings. It is also very important to consider the generation that you are communicating with. The article mentioned that older people still prefer thank you’s or at least some acknowledgement and it is important to abide by these unspoken rules so you do not come across as rude. Relationships differ between people and there is a good chance you will communicate with someone of an older generation who might not understand the way the younger generation communicates so it is important to make the effort to communicate their way as well as try to teach them the new etiquette.

  20. Ryan Lewis

    Judging by comments on many YouTube videos the etiquette is extremely different because you don’t have to filter yourself in fear of embarrassing, or being hurt by saying the things you are.


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