I find myself pondering several things that have to do with etiquette. Not normal daily etiquette, but the birth of new etiquette standards with the age of computers and tech that we now have. The speed of the internet and social media has created new dilemmas that the rules of etiquette need to be changed and applied to. We are aware of cyber-bullying, stalking, cat-fishing and stuff that need to be addressed in a larger format to change, but I’m talking about smaller, daily life things that make upset people where rules may need to be made.
Of the last three years, I have been Facebook friends with a dead man. He was a wonderful person, full of life and good spirit even as cancer took his life. Pictures and posts from when he was still a life pop up on my posts occasionally, saddening me on my loss of him in my life. There are times I like to think about him on my own, and even look at pictures, but this surprise, here is you, a dead friend, miss him is the pits. Why does he still have an account if he is dead? I feel it would be bad etiquette to unfriend him like I would be a bad friend to have him stop haunting me on Facebook. If I unfriend him, can I still call him a friend?
Can a text, post or emailed save a date be really considered a save the date? For years people have been addressing envelopes and mailing these out but as a way to save time and money, some people have been doing this electronically. What is the etiquette for the text? Is it different from the post or email? If you get an electronic one, should you still expect a paper one? And what about what you know happened my now, the pocket save the date, were your media accidentally invites someone you didn’t what to save the date? Do you then have to invite them to the wedding?
Actually, I’ve never understood the save the date. Saving the date is the wedding invitation. Sure if you have friends or family that lives farther away, you may what to give them more notice with a phone call or a note. And of course giving as much notice as possible to anybody that you want to do something like stand up or make 100 shrimp puffs is very polite, but you generally ask such things in person or by phone.
Recently I ran up against a Facebook etiquette foux-pau, a lovely friend and family member passed away. It was known that it would happen, but just not when. She lived far away from me and I couldn’t go to be with her. We had an informal phone tree of loved ones to call and break the news. Because a sister of hers decided to put up along eulogy to the dead woman I found out on Facebook about her pasting hours before the person who would be breaking the news to me could call. Instead of the comforting voice and shared sorrow, I had the news broken to me by a cold computer screen. While the sister had a right to share her sorrow, good etiquette would have said for her to wait a day or two for all the people who should be called and told would be.
New ways of communication and interacting with others have led to the need to define and refine cyber etiquette. We have been told not to use all caps and shout at people and at times an emoji can say more than words. Etiquette defined means “the rules and conventions governing correct or polite behavior in society in general or in a specific social or professional group or situation.” (I’m big on definitions) Computers are a new means of social interaction and need rules to help us be kind to each other.