Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tethered to Technology! It's Curtains for Courtesy and R.I.P. to the RSVP

I realize I have said this many times before, but it bears repeating when every day I am assaulted with commands, not requests mind you, to "Like Me On Facebook", or "Like Us On Facebook". So I will say it again; It has been curtains for courtesy and R.I.P. to the RSVP for way too long now.  


 When I first started out in the business, back in 1990, I was making headway for quite a few years.  Then little things started tripping me up in my quest to teach common courtesies to the masses.  What little things?  Let me see...

There was a small invention called the internet, that no one in the general public noticed for many years. Then there were cell phones suddenly showing up not in people's cars, but in the least likely of places; restaurants, church services, funerals, classrooms and worst of all, bathrooms!

The deluge of faxes from people inviting me to weddings or birthday celebrations was bad enough, but email only made it worse. At least with a fax, I had something to hold in my hand.  With email, I had to print something out. I preferred that those sending me cards, sent them via the U.S. mail.  That way I didn't have to pay for them.  With a faxed invite, I was paying for the paper, ink and all.  Just the same as with emailed items, only with email, everyone and their mother now had my email address because no one knew what the "Bcc" feature was, or simply didn't care.  
Recent survey in TIME Magazine... These must only be people who are consciously aware they are doing it.  I am sure the other 65% of them are oblivious.

Then it was IM-ing, texting, etc... the list of ways to make attention spans shorter, seemed to be growing by the minute. Especially with children.  It was bad enough their Game Boys, Nintendo, Playstation and X-Box controllers were practically glued to their hands, and their faces to the television screens, but now they had their own mini-computers they could carry around with them in the form of smart phones. (I won't even get into iPods and Mp3 players, otherwise this post will take way too long to read.)
 
The point is that the past few generations of kids I have been teaching has changed radically. So have the parents. In a December 2010 poll by MORE magazine, 53% of women text family members in the next room to let them know that dinner is waiting for them. I am not sure how many women they polled, but 53% of the women I know, do not cook a nightly dinner for the family and neither do their spouses or significant others.
Memo to those of you who haven't heard; June Cleaver left the kitchen many years ago.
Everyone seems to be so tethered to their smart phones and iPads, they are not paying attention to those they are spending time with, whether it be family, friends or work colleagues. While as a whole, we have gotten more connected worldwide, we have sadly become farther removed from our attention to courtesy, manners and our most interpersonal relationships.
Isn't technology grand, Stu?
In order to counteract this loss of actual face-time with family, not Facebook-time, I have made it a monthly habit over the past few years to have a large family meal, complete with any relatives and friends who want to join in. 
Though my step-mother confided to me that she and my dad can see I'm in a lot of pain when hosting these, she knows they are important to me and appreciates the fact that I host them at all. I have told her and my father both, that despite any physical challenges I may battle, these dinners are very important to me.  When I am no longer around, I want my kids to remember them and pass the tradition on when they start families of their own.

Oh... and if I don't keep in touch with you, your business or whatever it is you are hawking, I will not like you on Facebook.  I am not even on Facebook, so please stop emailing me commands to "Like" you.

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