As few as 25 years ago, communication was mostly limited to face-to-face interactions or word of mouth. With the tech age we live in now communication has changed, and so too have conventions and manners. Below are 10 tech faux pas to avoid this year according to Forbes Electronic Etiquette.
- Frequent cell phone use is annoying. We have all been guilty in the past of doing something on our phone when we should have been paying attention. Checking your phone too often can tell people that they are boring or that whatever is on your phone is more important than they are. If you are waiting for an important call or email, let those around you know so you don’t seem like a jerk for pulling your phone out too often. Put the phone away and talk to the people around you.
- If you are on your phone, don’t forget to look up! We may think we are a generation of multitaskers, but in reality we don’t realize all the mistakes we make by not paying attention. Did you see that bike almost hit you on the sidewalk? Not if you were looking down at your phone. Not paying attention to your surroundings isn’t just rude, it’s dangerous.
- Are you THAT guy talking loudly on the phone in the crowded Blue Bean? There is no such thing as a private conversation in a public place. People are always going to be listening in on your conversation. If you need to have a private conversation then make sure you head somewhere quiet first. Not only for your privacy, but out of respect for your caller. Too much background noise can make it hard to hear what’s being said and can distort your voice. Just do everyone a favor, and take your call somewhere a little less populated.
- How do you sign off your emails? Too personal or too professional can be equally awkward. Make sure that your email signature and sign off match the tone and level of professionalism of the email. Don’t sign an email to your best friend with your work title, and don’t sign an email to your boss with a cat emoji or slang.
- While we’re talking about emails, don’t be lazy! Take the time to write a full email before sending it. No one wants to get an email that has little to no content. Let the recipient know who the email is for, what it is regarding, the message you would like to deliver, a follow up question or note, and sign the email appropriately. Of course not every email will be the same, but following a few simple rules will guarantee that no one ever calls you a lazy emailer. While you’re at it, double check your spelling and grammar. The last thing you need is for your boss to think you can’t spell ‘Hippopotamus’ correctly.
- The best way to avoid a social media scandal is to avoid posting inappropriate things on social media. Remember who can see your social media posts. Does your boss follow you on Twitter? Is your grandma on your Facebook? Know your audience and tailor your posts to match. As soon as something is posted online, it can never be truly deleted.
- Have you ever gotten an email that sits in your inbox for days or sometimes weeks before you get around to responding? Honestly, haven’t we all? Avoiding or ignoring contacts can be a bad idea. Never let an email, voicemail, or even that text from your mom sit unanswered for more than a day or two. If you really don’t have time to answer right away, it can’t hurt to read the email and send a quick response such as “I received your message and will get back to you soon.” If the email has one of those red exclamation marks, then be sure to read and respond to the email quickly. Otherwise, keep up to date on your messages and call your mom!
- File Attachments are scary. The last thing you need is to send that awkward holiday picture to the wrong person, or to send the wrong paper to a professor. Every time you send a file attachment, double and even triple check to make sure the right file is going to the right person. Otherwise, you could end up in an awkward position. And while we’re on the topic, make sure that every file is named appropriately. We’ve all named our least favorite papers something…passive aggressive. Just remember to rename your files before you send them to avoid that awkwardness. Renaming files also allows the recipient to know exactly what they are receiving. Try naming a file with your last name, title of the paper, and date for convenience.
- Security is of the utmost importance. Cyber security is even more important. If someone hacks your account then they have access to some of your most personal information. The best way to protect your account and yourself is to keep your password private. Never enter E-town password into any unfamiliar website. ITS will NEVER ask for your password. Check out these articles for more information on password security and phishing scams.
- Last but not least, the dreaded pocket dial. It happens to the best of us. Your phone is innocently in your pocket, and the next thing you know your aunt is on the line. To avoid the dreaded pocket dial, always make sure your phone is locked before placing it in your pocket. This prevents your battery from wearing down faster too. Also, make sure that if you do pocket dial your aunt, that you send a quick text to let her know that everything is alright. You could give her a quick call to avoid hurting her feelings too. After fifteen minutes it’s safe to claim you have a class and hang up if she’s still chatting though.
Avoid these tech faux pas and you’ll be good to go for the new year. For more tech etiquette tips, read more on Forbes Electronic Etiquette article.