PHONE ETIQUETTE

Last year, when I attended Winchester Science Festival, I had an unpleasant conversation with another attendee.  Don’t worry, it’s not too scandalous, but it did make me consider other people’s perceptions of the ever-more public use of technology.

I was in one of the talks and I had two important tasks to carry out:

1. I wanted to tell my beloved about the cool things I was learning about during the day that he wasn’t there for,

2. I needed to fact-check something.  As a skeptic, this is super-critical.

So I used my smartphone to do the above two tasks, and got pestered by some bloke sitting in the same row of the auditorium for not paying attention to the speaker. I was pretty annoyed, for many reasons, but mainly these three:

1. He spoke to me like I was a naughty child,

2. He clearly had no understanding of what I was doing. Ok, fair enough that technology changes rapidly and not everyone is as clued-up as the early adopters, but it was at a science festival in 2014. Get with the times!

3. I was disturbing no-one, literally no-one. The lights were on, my sound was off, and everyone else was doing it too!

And then I got to thinking of just how pervasive technology is in my personal life.  On the second date with Mr Science Gentleman, we spent the entire evening on our phones playing Cards Against Humanity with strangers on the internet.  Nowadays we do similar sorts of things.  We are frequently out to dinner and glued to our phones playing Ingress.  I’m sure the other diners think we hate each other.

But we define those rules.  We know we’re not being rude, we just communicate differently.  We are all cyborgs now.

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