Rudeness exemplified by those savvy in technology and ignorant in manners.

Today a seemingly never ending parade of technological wizardry is presented to us in our daily lives. Every day we see pagers, ipods, cell phones, pdas, laptops, notebooks, blackberries, [tag]GPS[/tag]s, and all sorts of extremely tiny “very large scale integrated devices”.

These technological wonders are everywhere. You can’t even go into a restroom without being bombarded by people doing there “business” while doing there, well… “business”!

It seems as though, for many of us, we can be so caught up with communicating that we fail to communicate properly and courteously with those around us, let alone pay attention to what is happening in “real-time” around us.

I think [tag]Max Frisch[/tag] was on to something when he said “Technology is a way of organizing the universe so that man doesn’t have to experience it”! If you feel that technology hasn’t given you the quality of life and peace of mind it promises, please, PRESS 1 NOW…

With all the technologies and abilities the human race now has to bring us closer together, you would think that there wouldn’t be so many many socially inept people. Not only do I believe that people are losing the abilities to talk to each other properly and respectfully, they don’t even want to.

You’ve all seen it, people talking on the [tag]cell phones[/tag] while trying to pick up a fast-food order. You’ve even seen them trying to ORDER while on the cell phone. I’ve seen couples shopping in Wal-mart, both on their cell phones, blissfully bumping their cart through and over people, displays and children. We’ve all seen clusters of kids on the street sidewalks IMing or calling other friends to come join them while they I’M and call others in an all out race to see just how many people they can pack on the curbside of a busy through-way.

My favorite is when I see classrooms of children, side by side, in computer labs “interacting” with everything but the children sitting beside them. And then there is the infamous act of the cell-phone or pager obnoxiously going off when you are finally having a real conversation with someone and they ANSWER it and proceed to waste your time.

This really bothers me; when I’m waiting to check out and somebody calls the cashier with something so “important” (like a price check) that they are taken away from me, the paying customer, effectively “cutting in line”. Let them wait their turn!

A cell phone and pager is nothing more than a very long, long [tag]dog leash[/tag]. They attach us to things we cannot seem to get far enough away from. I’m not saying that they don’t have advantages, they do, but I wish we would all use some control with them. I believe that there will soon be a day when people will get these thing implanted into them. Their already wearing them on their ears now… you can get them in blinky blue or blinky green. Blue-tooth devices may just become “In-tooth” devices.

If there is a [tag]television[/tag] or [tag]video[/tag] display anywhere within visual ogling distance and it’s on, people will stare at it. Have you ever been into an office where a video display is on the desk and you cannot see the screen, but the person talking to you can. They keep looking at while there supposedly in-conversation with you as if something is so important on there they must look at it.

Think about it; maybe you do this as well. The screen hasn’t changed, nothing new has “come up” and yet you keep looking at it as though your in a trance. People are so trained to stare at screens (and don’t the advertisers know it!) that many even leave their televisions on all day because they like to look at it or hear it as the pass by. They don’t know what programs were on it all day, but it was on.

Besides conversations being interrupted, movies are interrupted, lectures are interrupted, classes are interrupted, meals are interrupted…everything is interupted. Where is the peace? No wonder people have A.D.D. and problems concentrating. There is no [tag]peace[/tag]. Just noise and lots of it.

I’d cast some more stones, but I’m too busy getting pelted myself. I have, however, implemented some ideas to help me to gain some sanity and be less “rude” myself.

1. When someone comes in to my office to speak with me, I turn the display off. It
helps me to focus on them and not my monitor.

2. My cell phone no longer takes messages. People are directed to call me at my office number and leave a message there. I check my messages during office times.

3. I use [tag]caller id[/tag] to my advantage. If I don’t need to speak to someone at the moment, and it’s not a pressing matter they can talk to the machine. I’ll get back to them on my time.

4. I always leave my phone on [tag]vibrate[/tag]. If I’m talking to somebody I don’t interrupt the middle of our conversation to check who is calling. If I’m expecting a call, I let the person I am talking with know I am expecting an important call and excuse myself to take the call.

5. I check emails a few times a day at designated times. It is too easy to become a slave to email or IM. I know people that stare at their empty screens just waiting for an email to arrive. If an e-mail hasn’t arrived by the end of the day, it’ll wait till tomorrow.

6. My cell phone rule: The phone is for me to call people, not people to call me. My cell phone number is a guarded secret. If someone is calling me, it is because they are important enough to have my number and someone I do want to talk with.

7. I try not to use my cell phone, pda or other device while engaged in transactions or social gatherings. Once I saw a woman at McDonald’s with three kids. She was on the cell phone the whole time through ordering, eating and leaving. The kids were running rampant and placing the order took forever. It was easy to see the conversation was a non-important “chatty” call by her loud remarks. I think she was using the phone as a form of escapism. It was so irritating I escaped myself.

8. I try to interact with those around me rather than something that requires those around me not to interact such as watching television or playing computer games. Of course, now we can “interact” in LIVE games with other people from around the world…

This kind of reminds me of the people who “spill their guts” to strangers on line and never talk about anything to those around them. Not exactly the correlation I was trying to draw here, but another good example, nonetheless.

Now, if your business is one that lives or dies by current information and the ability to “reach out and touch someone“, then you may not want to apply some of the thoughts in this discourse else you may find yourself out of a job.

So, in the end, what to do with all this? I’ll have to get back to you my cell’s ringing. ;)

~J. [tag]Pisano[/tag]

Joseph M. Pisano, Ph.D. is the creator of many education websites, a lecturer, clinician, trumpeter, and conductor. He is currently the Associate Chair of Music and Director of Bands in the Calderwood School of Arts at Grove City College in PA. He been named a TI:ME Teacher of the Year, received the JEN Jazz Educator Award and the PA Citation of Excellence. He is a past Vice President of the Technology Institute for Music Educators and the current Vice-President of the PA Intercollegiate Bandmasters Association. He also writes for DCI Magazine, Teaching Music Magazine, and is the Educational Editor for In-Tune Monthly Magazine; he has contributed hundreds of articles to various publications. Find out more at his website jpisano.com.
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