ill-breeding and impropriety is the new ONLINE norm!
We see it all the time, experience it daily…rudeness, ill-mannered, selfish, self-centered people…and I am blaming social media! This is a platform where one can ignore, can be as contentious as can be and forget any of the social graces and norms of society that have been a part of our culture since we became a country.
We can buy and sell on Social media, we can create funding accounts, we can espouse our political, religious or moral standpoints all behind a protective glass screen. But has this great innovation made us better people? Has it taken those long-standing 3 degrees of separation to only one degree of rudeness and apathy?
Remember when our forms of direct communication, if not in person, were via an actual voice to voice conversation on a phone that was attached by a cord, to the wall? A situation that caused us to stop and sit, and focus on the person on the other end of the line? I do. I also remember corresponding with friends and family members with the elusive pen and paper. But these days are long gone. We now have a DECLINE or IGNORE button which can send our callers directly to voice mail until we decide to or not to return their call…we can hit delete to any email and send it away to cyberspace.
We also have instant messaging where people can communicate with others, magically, instantly. But with this type of communication one can simply, view and then ignore the message as if it were never received…even though the sender knows… And this has become the new social norm!
“I think we have ALL experienced “ghosting” at one point or another on any form of Social Media. But what does this say about us, about our character? ”
I think we have ALL experienced “ghosting” at one point or another on any form of Social Media. But what does this say about us, about our character? If you don’t know the term, “ghosting” means when you write to someone, you are quite aware that they have viewed your question or your comment but they simply do not respond. This action or lack of action has become so prevalent on Social Media that a NEW TERM had to be coined to describe it. And, for the record, I am NOT describing a situation where someone innocently misses a message…I believe we have all had this happen to us personally; a message gets buried or an email is inadvertently sent to spam…NO, I am describing a situation where an individual simply does not feel it is necessary or important to respond.
What does this say about our character, our civility, and just plain common manners? Is the cyber-world so far removed from the real world that we feel justified to “ghost” people when we don’t want to respond? Hasn’t the cyber-world become our real world now? We don’t send letters, we send emails, we don’t call, we text…we don’t send handwritten, postage paid invitations to parties or special events, we use online party planners, Facebook events, Instagram and Twitter and depending on your age, this is just how it is now done without a second thought…and this makes our lives so much easier. Right?
There was a time when all of my party invitations were handwritten with a SASE (most young people have NO idea what that even means). It was arduous, time-consuming and expensive, but it was, and sometimes still is, the proper and etiquette filled approach. You crossed your fingers that people would actually take the time to respond and send back their RSVP whether it was to accept or decline, after all, there was a cost involved. These were truly archaic times compared to the ease and simplicity of our current system of things. But has technology really made things such as this simpler or has it actually turned us into RUDE, Ill-Bred people who lack even the simplest of decorum?
I am fully convinced that the latter is the truth and I have experienced this first hand by those one would think were bred and raised with certain social graces, etiquette, and manners. I have experienced messages sent friends to who we invited to special events where a head-count is imperative, read but not responded to. And not simply just one message, but several. I think to myself, “the arrogance of these people…” And it is not just very special events or party invitations where basic manners are lost, it is also buying and selling online…Ignoring or if you will, Ghosting has become a part of many individuals’ character and this is NOT a good thing and we shouldn’t accept it. This behavior should never become normal to us.
I am not sure what if anything can be done to correct these social disgraces…Dear Abby and Miss Manners have gone by the by. All I can do is give you some of my wisdom and advice. If someone sends you an online invitation to a special event or a party they are hosting, it is safe to assume that they feel that you are special to them in some way to extend an invitation… Unless of course it is a fundraiser and then they may think that you have the resources to help with their cause–these are different, but still should not be ignored! Moreover, all events take time and money and planning for a successful outcome and if you were invited, through an online planner, a Facebook event message or even a simple email, RESPOND! Feel grateful that they invited you! Show some class and etiquette! We can not complain about, “kids these days lack manners” if the adults in their lives lack them as well!
The same decorum is also expected for buying or selling on Marketplace or Craigslist. Stop ignoring, stop ghosting, stop being so arrogant that you don’t feel a response is necessary! It is time that we brought Social Graces, Proper Etiquette and Manners to our online lives!
Daniella Cross is the caretaker of 4Earth and featured writer.