Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Digital Diss - PDA Etiquette in Public

Remember the Seinfeld episode where George is at a funeral, but he's starving of hunger? So he finds the best moment to escape the funeral home proceedings to indulge in the culinary delights of the ubiquitous post-funeral buffet.

These are moments that, well, only George would find himself in. George is quickly admonished for his gastronomically-induced bad etiquette.

It is no surprise, then, that the behavior of today's users of Personal Digital Assistants - PDAs - is not too dissimilar to George's indiscretion. How many of us either use or work around BlackBerry addicts who have no sense of etiquette?

During one recent management meeting, my boss pecked away at his qwerty keyboard - while his own boss was delivering a highly important and confidential presentation to his staff. More disturbing was the fact that I knew what his e-mails were about. He was playing text tag with his mother who was supplying his ADDHD son up-to-the-minute correspondence about a flash flood back home.

Now, most reasonable people would agree that there are rare instances where BlackBerry contact is urgent; however, it is a general rule to notify the meeting's presenter beforehand because you "may have to use your BlackBerry" due to an ongoing crisis. Off course if that situation presented itself, one would exit the room and then conduct their alleged crisis communications in private.

So, let's take a look at situations where it is probably not a good idea to use your PDA.

  • Never text or use a PDA on a first date.
  • Never use a PDA during a job interview.
  • Never use a PDA at a funeral.
  • Never use a PDA when a waiter or waitress is taking your order.
  • Never use a PDA while you are steering a ferry, trolley, train or other public transportation vehicle.
  • Never us a PDA during intercourse with your significant other.
  • Never, ever use a PDA while in the presence of a Judge during your DUI hearing.
  • Never use a PDA while taking the LSAT exam - or any similarly important test.
  • Never use a PDA while you are in a confessional at your place of worship (the priest will invariably see the glow of your LED screen through the dividing screen).
  • Finally, never, ever, ever use a PDA while you are engaged in a fire-fight with the enemy during a military ambush.
In all seriousness, when one hunches over their BlackBerry or other device during a moment where undivided attention is a must (http://video.foxnews.com/6048848/practice-blackberry-etiquette?), you are telling those in your immediate circle that you could care less about them.

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