The New Ettiquite of the Connected

Look at this bro. You’ve seen him before. Maybe you’ve even been him before. Here’s why his Thanksgiving Shenanigans may represent increasingly acceptable behavior:

At its most general, etiquette helps us not kill each other. A negotiation between the self and others, it smoothes rough edges, defuses conflict, and enables a common standard of exchange conducted more in words than steel. Our proximate legacy is the etiquette of the Enlightenment, in which the individual is the ultimate, indivisible unit of civilization, and is treated as such. For example, being with somebody means focusing attention on that person. You respect the discrete nature of the individual by being discreet about the rest. Do you need to make a call or check a message right that minute? No, actually, you don’t; you wait until you have retired, to your office, to your private space, and conduct the rest of your affairs from there.

Etiquette is not just about which fork to use. Or rather, it is — but now it’s fork, fork, cellphone; the vibration of which signals the end of the Enlightenment. Because it signals the end of the individual as we know it.

Undecided on how much I agree/disagree with the author, but the paradigm is clearly shifting. Shortish read.

[Peggy Nelson @ Nieman Storyboard via The Browser]

[image via corbis]

August 11, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Reading.

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