Social Media Protocol.

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Is there anyone who does not have a mobile phone? I have a very good friend who uses the ringtone that speaks the word “RING” for an incoming call. The tone becomes more intense with each passing second until he answers the phone. It’s quite amusing. This is the same friend who was the first one I knew to purchase a cell phone. That was 20 years ago.

I have this uncanny ability to always sit or stand next to the individual who forgets to turn off her or his mobile device during quiet times, like in church or in meetings or other public gatherings. The phone rings and the person ignores it, and people look at me like it’s my phone. It’s embarrassing.

One time, a friend handed me his belongings and said, “I’ll be right back.” Naturally I held his items. Guess what? Yes, during a very quiet time at an important public gathering, his phone rang and people looked at me. While this could be a great practical joke, it was not intended as such. I felt stupid. I didn’t want to answer his phone, and I didn’t know how to mute it.

It’s interesting that technology requires us to consider new sets of protocols. I have trouble sitting next to someone in the airport who is having a private conversation. Do people really have to talk so loud so that everyone is involved in the conversation? Why do we have this desire to be connected to each other constantly? The supermarket checkout line is no time to talk about your social life. At least wait until you are in the car. Is there any such thing as private time anymore?

I think it’s time to write the book on electronic manners and appropriate social technological protocol. Don’t get me started on Facebook and the postings people make. It’s so easy to gripe, but remember, the world is watching.

So what’s my point? Let’s approach our technology with courtesy, always remembering that others are watching or listening. Most of all, be respectful in your communication – all forms of it – always.

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