Monthly Archives: April 2013

TEXTPECTATIONS – The practice and etiquette of modern technology

ImageI recently tried explaining to my youngest son the life before cell phones. He looked a bit perplexed as I explained the long cord that was attached to the wall on the phone. He was even more perplexed when my father talked about the days of “party lines” and unique rings.

Although my son will never know the pains of waiting on a sister to get off the phone with her boyfriend he will also never know the joy of walking out the door with the phone hanging on the wall. The world in which we live provides us the double-edged sword of convenience and endless distraction.

On the one hand this modern day dynamic of individual technology produces many wonderful conveniences. A pastor friend recently told me how he was told of the death of a parishioner’s family member in Missouri, from his son in Florida while he was riding down the highway in Louisiana, All within minutes of the death. These gadgets do provide us with amazing connectivity, access and information.

On the other hand, they produce a whole new world of challenges for us all. We are now constantly connected to everyone else in our contact list and are intricately aware of our hundreds of friend’s latest movement through Facebook, Twitter or a myriad of other social networks.

Although these devices provide unprecedented access, if not properly managed they also remove control of our own schedule and times, and can become a tremendous distraction to our families, co-workers or the person we are having lunch with. The consistent buzz or ding of our phones and devices becomes a call to action and moves us from the conversation at hand to the conversation “in our hand”.

These distractions are only multiplied by the fact that whoever is calling, texting or instant messaging us knows that our devices are with us 24/7 and that we are aware of their correspondence. This produces an expectation that we will give an immediate or nearly immediate response.

I don’t know about you but I need balance in this area of my life. So I developed a list of “Textpectations” that we need to learn to live by. These are simple practices and etiquette of modern technology that I need to embrace. Perhaps they will be useful to you as well.

First, We need to give people time and opportunity to respond to us without becoming impatient. I need to realize that the person I am trying to reach may be under the hood of their car, in the shower or just enjoying time with their family. 1-2 hours is ok and doesn’t mean they are ignoring me.

Second, We should turn off our phone when someone has a scheduled meeting with us and give them our undivided attention. If they were prudent enough to take the time to visit with me I should be respectful enough to focus on their conversation.

Third, It’s a really dumb thing to mix driving with your smart-phone! This is in the category drinking and driving. We can really wait to see that picture of someone’s breakfast plate that they posted on Facebook, trust me we can.

Fourth, adhere to our work-place policies regarding personal phone usage. These devices create 21st century methods for cheating our employers of time.

Finally, Take a Sabbath from our devices. What would one day or even a few hours away from our devices do for our relationship with others or perhaps our relationship with God. The admonition to “be still and know that I am God” is hard to follow with a phone in our hand.

May ur relationships & business b enhanced gr8tly by the blessing of technology & may u avoid the traps that come with it. C u l8tr! J