I remember some 20 years ago everyone was concerned about what was called “netiquette,” proper behavior on the Internet. There were dozens or hundreds of web sites with all sorts of lists of what was, and was not, acceptable Internet usage. Unfortunately, all sorts of new technologies have led to all sorts of new etiquette issues.
Now, the 2012 Intel Mobile Etiquette Survey found that 92 percent of American adults said they wished other people practiced better mobile behavior. What this means is that almost everyone thinks they aren’t doing anything bothersome, but almost everyone else thinks they are.
According to the survey, the three top irritants are people who text while driving, people who talk too loudly on a cell-phone in public, and people who have device volume turned up so loud everyone can hear it. But apparently, according to the statistics, no one thinks they do these things, but that everyone else does.
The survey also found that 20 percent of the respondents said that some of what they post on-line is false. This means that at least some of what your friends say in social media isn’t true. Of the posting, the most irritating are people who continually complain on-line, who post private information, and who post inappropriate or explicit photographs. In other words, most people don’t like what other people are posting. To put it bluntly, most people, even your virtual friends, don’t care what you are having for dinner.
Perhaps the most disturbing finding is that a third of the people said they are more comfortable with digital rather than interpersonal relationships. This implies people would rather interact with a machine than with real people.
What these results show is that many people are not sure how to balance the benefits and shortcomings of new forms of media. People aren’t sure how to use new media or how to relate to others in their media use.
Things sure were easier when we wrote letters and talked on the telephone in the privacy of our own homes!