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Technology Etiquette is not Device Dependent

Is technology, smartphone or Blackberry etiquette any different than E-mail Etiquette? Nope.

I get emails almost daily asking me this question. I get asked about smartphone, Blackberry and handheld device etiquette as though by virtue of the device being used, courtesy and common sense does not apply.

The topic I am most contacted about is the checking and responding to emails and texts when others feel it is inappropriate. For example at the dinner table, in church, during meetings, while in a conversation with someone else — while driving a 4,000 pound automobile!

Customary Code of Polite Behavior

When you take a moment to think about it, all that etiquette in general is a way to behave when taking into consideration how your actions (or lack thereof) could affect others.

noun: the customary code of polite behavior in society or among members of a particular profession or group.

Some would say our “customary code of polite behavior” is something from the past. That technology has changed etiquette in general and that etiquette does not apply to our devices. I don’t buy that. Polite behavior is the glue that holds society together.

Courtesy never goes out of style. On or off-line.

Thinking of others not just ourselves is not old-fashioned. If it is we have bigger problems than cellphone or blackberry etiquette.

Proper technology use, whether it be emailing or texting on Blackberries, smartphones or even PCs does not include you doing what you want, how you want or when you want without consideration for others.

What do you think it would say about a person who never considers the potential negative ramifications of their choice of actions at a particular point in time? Inconsiderate? Ignorant? Daft? Actions like when to (or not to) answer your phone, respond to emails or texts is your choice.

As with most things in life, just because you can doesn’t mean you do! Sadly, all too many think that with technology anything goes. Wrong!

So how exactly do you know what to do when? It’s called discretion.


  1. the quality of behaving or speaking in such a way as to avoid causing offense or revealing private information.
  2. the freedom to decide what should be done in a particular situation.

Technology Etiquette Does Not Change Based on the Device Used

Regardless of what device you are using, you simply need to be aware of how to use it properly with consideration for others. This means not answering emails or texts when sitting at the family dinner table.

Turn your phone off during the sermon in church. When in a business meeting where your full attention is assumed, business texting etiquette applies. You do not have your smartphone out or in use — pay attention!

To hide behind technology as an excuse to not be courteous because others may not, is self-serving at best. To reply to emails or texts on your cellphone or Blackberry when common courtesy and decorum dictates your full attention be given to those you are with, clearly reflects your lack of common courtesy.

Use Your Discretion; Discretion is Your Friend

When it comes to business meetings, your lack of self-discipline can diminish your perceived professionalism. Your full attention should be on the meeting!

[Visit: BusinessEmailEtiquette.com for more.]

Courtesy and perception go hand in hand. Without courtesy, the perception you will leave in your wake will tell people exactly what they need to know about you — and it most likely won’t be positive.

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