It is the year 2013. Twenty years ago, we didn't have smartphones, tablets, laptops or any of the social media platforms that have now defined our generation. People didn't snap pictures at the dining table, check into locations wherever they are, or record their entire existences for the whole world on see on the Internet. There were a different set of manners and etiquettes.
At the dining table, it was don't talk with your mouth full, don't pick on your food, wash your own dishes. Now, it’s more like stop playing with your phone, stop texting, and the inevitable, are you done taking pictures? There was no such thing as don't text and drive; it was solely don't drink and drive. Now, we worry about both mindless decisions. Change is normal in society. We thrive on a state of flux, but when it comes to the manners of the 21st century, are we doing it right?
In an effort to influence a redefinition of courtesy and manners, here are some major faux pas of this generation.
Texting while someone is talking to you
I don’t know how, I don’t know when, and I don’t know why people need to do this incessantly. Texting in a social situation is one of the rudest social norms adapted by our generation. How in the world have we allowed ourselves to interrupt someone in the midst of talking just because we have to reply to a text message?
We are a generation of immediate gratification, and it seems like the current reality of a person sitting in front of you attempting to converse just cannot trump virtual conversation.
I sometimes wonder, who is that person on the other line? Are you planning some important what-shall-we-do-when-zombies-attack contingency plans that you can’t just put down that damn phone and be fully engaged in a conversation?
The need to hashtag your photos
It was revolutionary when Instagram became global. We now have an extremely convenient and revealing platform to share and view pictures from all over the world. Even foodies are tolerated; you can post photos of delectably mouth-watering food all you want - the world forgives you. I just have to burn the “hashtaggers.” Seriously? You post a picture of yourself and you caption it with #selfie #ootd #bored #Mondayblues #sunnyday #inthecar. Why is this necessary? Hashtags originated on Twitter and that’s where they should stay.
Wait! Don’t eat yet; I need to snap this!
You’re out to dinner and “check in” at your location, tag your accompanying friends, and post a photo of the dinner table as everyone’s meal arrives. Okay. Since when did eating with a bunch of friends become a public affair? Who cares that you’re out to dinner? People who incessantly scroll through the newsfeed of Facebook maybe – oh wait, that implies 90 percent of all Facebook users!
Really, guys, how is updating every social event you have ever been to the way to live your life? Since when has a fun-filled dinner mixed with good conversation become insufficient? Let’s put down the camera phones and focus on what’s in front of us.
Turning Facebook into a forum of humble-brags, overly depressed or happy statuses, opinionated statuses, etc.
“Ran only 15 miles today, must do better tomorrow!” “Feeling sad – why do I feel like everyone is against me these days?” “Finally got what I wished for! The world couldn’t be a better place right now.”
Everyone has something going on in his or her life at any given moment. People are different. People have different opinions, they do different things and they feel different emotions. When people share every detail of their lives on social media, I feel like stabbing myself repeatedly. Why do we need to broadcast our emotions to the public? And to the humble-braggers who can’t stop talking about how inspired they feel and how much progress they’re making on their goals, please stop.
If you really are determined, go out and do something productive. Stop overloading your Facebook profile with fitness pictures and photos of the healthy food that you consume daily. Stop with the obsession over social media. Maybe the ticket to a better, more fulfilling, life is logging out of your social media and concentrating on the life before your eyes.
We spent much of our childhood learning manners and proper etiquette, but it seems like we are lacking in those very departments when it comes to our evolving social norms. When we will learn civility? When will we grasp the meaning and value of respect? More importantly, who is dictating the proper decorum when it comes to the virtual world?
Top Photo Courtesy: Tumblr