Week 7: Technology - Do's & Dont's
Technology. It’s solving problems in the world and has forever changed the way we communicate. From social media sites, phone calls, text messaging, to emails and constant multitasking through countless devices available to us in the marketplace. Being Tech Savvy doesn’t just mean knowing details of the latest and greatest device, it also means understanding and being responsible for knowing what communication platform is most appropriate way to say it. In this series of our blog post, we’ll talk Tech etiquette and the rules of engagement on these different platforms and using your devices with good manners.
Texting is intended to be brief and communicate the facts. Something you can write quickly and easily. For example — sending a message to your friend you are meeting for lunch that you will be there in 10 minutes. Quick, to the point and provides facts. We’ve all seen the infamous “auto-correct fails” that have left us reeling with laughter, or scratching our heads on what the person was actually trying to say. I’m sure all of you have even misinterpreted or sent something that was intended one way, but came across as another. This can lead to confusion, and even a put a friendship or relationship on rocky grounds. Remember, the tone of your voice conveys the meaning of your message that can be lost over text. If there is even the slightest chance your message could be misinterpreted, place a phone call instead.
Smart (or dumb) phones can distract us from being in the moment, taking away from the experience we should be focusing on while it is happening. As a general rule of thumb, if you have a loud voice that carries — avoid conversations in a public setting. Also, there are just some places that people should always avoid using your phone all together:
- While driving (unless you are using the appropriate hands-free technology)
- During a religious service of any kind
- Weekly Service
- During class
- At a checkout line — either a retail store or your favorite coffee shop. Don’t do it. It’s inconsiderate to those around you as well as the employees trying to help you with your transaction.
- Any public event that may distract others from concentrating, such as a speaker, a play or a movie.
- When you are with family and friends, try avoiding it when you can. Don’t miss out on who is there with you in the moment to hang out with someone virtually.
Tech Etiquette at Work
Meetings should almost always be considered a no phone zone, unless you are expecting an important work-related call.
Wear a watch to keep time in meetings, and not your phone. This will prevent you from unnecessarily looking at your phone and avoiding the temptation of responding to a non-work related message.
Laptops or tablets should be strictly for taking notes, otherwise could prove to be a distraction.
- Stop and think before you hit send.
- Most experts a general rule of thumb for email protocol is to respond within 24 hours.
- If you would not pick up the phone or say something face-to-face, then you should not be saying it over email.
- Facebook is for friends.
- LinkedIn is for business.
- Twitter can blur the lines between both.
- Instagram and Pinterest are generally seen as more of a personal platform for sharing content, but have gained popularity with businesses that market to consumers.
Some people are friends with their co-workers, and will be friends on Facebook and Twitter. Other individuals prefer to keep Facebook and Twitter strictly personal and do not want to cross the lines between professional and personal. It’s a personal choice, so remember, don’t be offended if you send a coworker, who you consider a friend, an invite or follow request and they don’t accept. A good rule of thumb is to exercise the privacy settings, especially if you want to keep your personal information, personal. LinkedIn should always be kept strictly professional with content and interaction. If you don’t have your Twitter or Facebook settings set to private — remember that content is visible to future employers and clients and that it can and may be used against you. I’ve read example after example of potential employers or clients doing their social media research on a potential candidate and passing them up because of unlocked down content that doesn’t reflect the characteristics of a person they want to hire for the job.
It’s difficult to give a hard rule on what to post on social websites since so much of what is posted is in how the person says it. In general, though, we can all agree it’s obnoxious to post specific details like your bout with the flu, or to put forward your opinions as though they are facts. Most companies now have Social Media policies in place, so when in doubt, consult your employee handbook on what the rules are for your individual organization.
All in all, the way we are technology and the way we are communicating is forever changing, and learning to be cognizant of your surroundings and tone when you say it, type it, tweet it will save you from any future misunderstandings.
YPC President & Client Operations Manager at Lightedge Solutions