As we start 2016, it’s about time we had a frank discussion about smartphone etiquette. For some of you, this will be a much needed wake up call (like the time I learned the rules about socks with sandals, or that men have cuticles). For others, you will probably violently defend your behavior and continue your abominable ways. If you don’t trust me, just pretend this advice is coming from the ghost of Steve Jobs himself, and get your act together.
Do Not show everyone your fantasy football lineup and ask for an opinion. Just don’t. No one cares really. Unless you are a professional fantasy footballer in one of those annoying daily fantasy leagues, keep it to your fellow fantasy geeks. They probably don’t care, either.
Do turn your phone off at work and during gatherings with humans. Of course, getting updates every time someone likes your post satisfies your need for significance, but it’s also distracting. Distraction is the enemy of accomplishment, and when taken to the extreme, can lead to relationships falling apart. Focus on being present, at work and with your loved ones, and you just may see your relationships flourish. For every fifteen minutes you spend with your phone in airplane mode, an angel gets its wings.
Do Not expect others to respond instantly to your text or PM. You know when you text someone and they don’t respond right away, but then you see them post on social media? WTH?! Just shake it off, in the wise words of Tay Swift. Mobile phones were meant to complement our lives – not rule them. If we would all detach from our devices more often, we would be a lot healthier and happier. That means giving others a break when they detach. If it’s really important, use the ‘phone’ function on your smart phone (yes, it makes calls, too) and leave a VM. Speaking of voicemails…
Do clean out your voicemails periodically. I just don’t trust a person whose VM is constantly full – just like I don’t trust gas station sushi.
Do Not make selfies your only (constant, relentless, repeated) contribution to social media. Selfie queen/king is not a badge of honor. This year, more people have died from selfies than shark attacks. This proves two things: there is a God, and that She is infinitely wise. If you can’t add something of value to a social media feed (humor, interest, motivation, etc.), then your inflated ego is going to get you unfollowed. A lot. Try some substance instead. Note: If all your selfies are from the same exact angle and/or include you in your underwear and you are not an underwear model, you may want to consider a professional intervention. #Selfie #StopIt #SorryNotSorry #SelfieLivesMatter
Do Not check your phone first thing when you wake up; that’s probably not healthy.
Do Not post or check your email while you’re sitting on the toilet; that can’t be healthy. Plus it’s gross.
Do Not Tinder while driving; that is definitely NOT healthy. It’s safer to stay single.
Do respond to this column with your reaction to these technology do’s and don’ts. Know of any I missed? Send to: email@example.com. We will publish the best responses in our next issue.
By Charles Warner