Archive for April, 2011

April 17, 2011

Sent from Mobile Device

I have no problem admitting that I was late jumping on the SmartPhone train. My droid and I weren’t united until Christmas 2010. I wasn’t upset at this delay. I couldn’t understand why somebody like me would ever need a smartphone. I was attached to my computer enough as it was (is). I didn’t need to be able to check my email 24/7. It wasn’t like I was conducting business deals in Milan – I was getting notifications about the due date of library books. Once I got my phone, however, my perspective changed. I didn’t take long before I became “one of those d-bags that gets an email on their phone, marks it as read, but never actually reads it or gets back to you.” How many times a day does your phone go off with some new message as seemingly inconsequential as the last? I tried to organize the emails with labels and attach stars to emails I really needed to get to.

Now I’m not saying that smartphones are this inherent evil that needs to be eradicated. I’m not encourage iPhone and Blackberry users to come together for a collective phone smashing nor am I suggesting we revert back to the rotary phone (although the retro feel does have some kind of attractive aesthetic). I’m saying that smartphones have taken an already arguably impersonal form of communication (e-mailing) and added another degree of separation.

I remember the annoyance I used to feel when I received emails with that obnoxious little tag at the bottom –

  • Sent from my iPhone
  • Sent from my Blackberry

I used to respond – “Not sent from my phone” and “Sent from an actual computer”

On average emails sent from phones are shorter and more concise. On one hand, that’s great. Decisions get made and information gets transmitted faster. On the other hand, I have to say that it’s disheartening to write out an email only to receive a one or two word reply in response. One of my professors is so brisk with his email replies that for a while I thought he sent all of them through his phone. At the very least, such stunted responses are impersonal; at worst they’re rude. Trying to type out anything beyond a few sentences on a phone can get pretty tedious. I don’t know how many times I’ve found myself trying to reply to an email on my phone before realizing that I don’t have to peck away on my touchscreen. I have an actual computer I can use.

Whether responding from your mobile device or computer, common courtesy should still reigns supreme.

(Comic via Meet the Introverts via Creative Commons)

April 10, 2011

Opposable Phones

You’re walking along, enjoying a beautiful 80 degree April day when BAM! a complete stranger runs into you. Why? They’ve had their head down engrossed in the contents of their cell phone.

You’re in line at the Loop pondering between a Loop and Swiss burger or grilled chicken sandwich when BAM! you’re inundated with the details of a stranger’s conversation. Why? They’re talking far too loudly on their cell phone about far too personal information.

You’re sitting at dinner with your friends at Sushi Love when BAM! you have to repeat a question to your friend. Why? They’re too busy looking at their plastic phone to pay any attention to the humans around them.

I know I’m not the only one to have found myself in similar situations to those above. Perhaps, I’ve even been that unknowing stranger perpetrator. The fact, is our phones are like an additional limb. We’re constantly attached to them and without them we feel lost.

This post, however, is not to dwell on our scary dependence on cellular phones. Instead, it is to offer some tips on how to manage that dependence in respectful ways.

  • There is a Time and Place for Everything

  • The Golden Rule

  • Remember a Time without Cell Phones

I’m not so sure I agree with MG Siegler that using your phone in social situations makes them more social. I’m more inclined to think that we were communicating and socializing just fine before cell phones took over. I’m certainly not advocating disregarding an obviously critical technology but if we don’t draw the line at the dinner table where do we draw it? In classrooms? Funerals? Bathrooms? Once upon at time, we didn’t have cell phones. We weren’t connected with each other and the rest of the world at large 24/7. And while we are connected now, we should be mindful of our habits. Nobody wants to be run into, ignored, or forced to listen to somebody else’s conversation. If a practice annoys you when others do it, make sure to abstain from that behavior yourself. If all else fails, you can always power down for awhile.

April 3, 2011

BrittDubs is typing…

A quick tutorial on instant messaging!

Time lapses in instant messaging is one of the most trying aspects of this technology. Often people forget to sign out so I end up sending them messages (sometimes time relevant) that end up being useless. Other times people walk away from their computers without saying so. I’m left staring at the screen anticipating a message that will never come. What might be even worse are those who claim that they’ll BRB (be right back) when in fact it turns out that they actually meant BBL (be back later).

FYI, I love acronyms, but we all know that sometimes too much of a good thing can be too bad. IKR? I used two in the previous paragraph, but those are fairly well known. When you can, use acronyms people will readily understand. If not, your messages can become confusing and needless ambiguous (WTF). Acronyms save time, but not that much time IMO.

Emoticons are cute and a well placed smiley can quickly diffuse an escalating situation, but use these sparingly. I, for one, don’t particularly appreciate being bombarded with countless winky faces and the like. More often than not, I find them simply conversation fillers (like LOL). They’re used when you don’t actually have anything to say which isn’t great news for the people conversing.