Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Do you have gadget etiquettes?

Technology may have made a huge difference to our lives but not everything it has touched has turned into gold. One of the things tech-haters love to moan about is about how the advent of better technology, especially in the field of communications, has led to an erosion of basic manners and etiquette.

Obviously, the tech tribe considers these complaints to be the fevered moanings of an older generation whose time has passed and which does not want to come to terms with the 'new techno age' and its culture. As always, the truth is somewhere between these two extremes.

Yes, technology has allowed us to keep in touch with each other far more easily and efficiently, but there are times when its users seem to forget themselves (and indeed, all those around them) and end up indulging in behavior that can only be called regrettable and which causes offense to all those around them.

Here's a look at just seven of the deadly sins that gadget lovers are prone to committing:

Using phone in a meeting
Yeah, we know that technology these days allows you to remain connected to the rest of the world, irrespective of time and place. But we still cannot fathom why on earth people insist on using their gizmo's in what are supposed to be important meetings.

Rare is the meeting where you won't find everyone having parked their phones on the conference table, as it to indicate that their pockets are so stuffed that the phones have to be kept outside, to irritate and distract whenever they ring or vibrate.

And even worse are those souls who spend entire meetings hidden behind laptops, typing away in some sort of morse code, surfacing occasionally to let others know that they exist.
There cannot be a better way of letting people know that you love your gadget. Much more than you like then, in fact.

Gadgets that holler
It's not just about loud cell phone ring tones, but also about beeping keypads, not to mention loudspeakers.

There is a whole of species of humankind that believes in sharing the music on their gadget (be it an MP3 player or a cell phone with loudspeaker and/or FM) with just about every person in the vicinity.

What they forget is that not everyone shares their taste in music, and not every one wants to listen to music at exactly same that these amateur broadcasters want to.

Hollering on phone
Most microphones, whether on PCs or cell phones, are pretty powerful affairs capable of picking up even whispers, leave alone the normal human voice, but there is a sub-species of homo sapiens that seems to think otherwise.

There is no other explanation why these people insist on screaming on their phones or PCs at the top of their voices, even when they are in the middle of a crowd. Some even go the whole hog and turn their phone on speaker phone mode, so that everyone in the vicinity can be treated to not just their voices but also that of the person at the other end of the line.

Of course, some might consider this to be part of the "openness" that technology has brought to our lives, after all, the screamer is inviting the world to listen in to his or conversation, but it just seems extremely disturbing, if occasionally entertaining, to most bystanders and (unwilling) listeners.

Gadgets at events
If I had a penny for every time I have heard a cell phone go off in the middle of a film or a press conference, I would have been near the top of Forbes' list of the money-laden.

It is one thing to love your gadget, quite another to keep it in a mode that is designed to disturb just about everyone watching a particular event.

Small wonder that referees in tennis matches request spectators to switch off their cell phones while play is in progress. Of course, that has little effect on many users, who keep them on anyway to draw the attention of the crowd from the event on to themselves!

Plugged-ear syndrome
Most people do not seem to realise that keeping an earpiece (be it the snow white buds of the iPod or a funky Bluetooth handsfree) plugged into their ears sends out a message to just about everybody around that they do not wish to be disturbed.

There is no better way of ensuring that no one will talk to you or of making a person with whom you are sitting feel unwanted and insignificant.

And yet, some of the most amiable people I know insist on keeping their headsets plugged in while talking to me in person and then express surprise at why I am silent.

Click-aholics
It is amazing how even the most considerate and sensitive person is converted into an invader of personal space the moment he or she gets his or her hands on anything that can take a picture.

A lot of people seem to think that possessing a camera gives them the right to click pictures of just about anybody (especially people they have never seen before) at any time and place.

What they do not seem to realise that this is also a gross violation of privacy.


Butchering grammar

Some educational institutions might have accepted SMS abbreviations as part of the English language but there are still large sections of the human population to which it is nothing but Greek.

And as if wrecking language was not bad enough, too many gadget freaks feel that one has to be excessively informal while communicating on SMS or email.

This often leads to some very shocked recipients and miscommunication galore. I still remember the expression of the 65-year-old CEO who received a text from a youngish reporter (all right, he was from a tech magazine) that requested him to "chill, mate. Im gonna b l8 by abt 10 mins fr invw".

And, of course, there is the incident of the person whose mother got the shock of her life when her son texted her that he had got "gr8 grades". She thought he had got an eighth-level grade and failed. A little common sense and sensitivity is all that it takes to avoid these gaffes. Good technology need not always result in bad manners.

Courtesy: TNN
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Ateeq


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