Dear Mobile Phone Talker/Texter/Twitterer/Facebook User/Fill in the Blank,
When I was little, my parents made me address their friends as Mr. and Mrs. Even now as I slide toward the upper end of my 30s, when I think of those family friends, their names are forever etched in my mind as Mr. and Mrs. Dyrli and Mr. and Mrs. Rabenstein.
Back then we had a mustard yellow rotary telephone with a spiral cord. My mother taught me to answer by announcing my name, “Hello, this is Beth,” and we had hard and fast rules about when it was appropriate to place phone calls. You did not call during dinner, after 9 p.m. or before 9 a.m. In turn, we answered the phone when it rang – often running to get to it before the miracles of voice mail and caller ID.
As you and I know well, it’s a lot more complicated now. Many of us sleep with our mobile phones next to our beds (I mean, a friend who does not want me to use her name told me that she does that). I work with a bunch of PR professionals, and we’re always thinking about the mode of communication that will be the most palatable for the media we are contacting.
Personally though, I am often overwhelmed by keeping track of all of the messages awaiting my response. At times, the need to tick through my correspondence has compelled me to multitask by getting in a few calls while I shop for my daughter’s favorite butternut squash and apple YoBaby yogurt.
To muffle this urge, I have turned off all of the notifications on my Mac and my iPhone. It’s a daily struggle to put the iPhone down, but I am trying, and I hope you don’t mind if I offer a few suggestions for managing all of these technologies – and hopefully improving our interactions.
Now that you’ve read all of these, you’re probably thinking that a bunch don’t apply to you. That’s the point. While many of these could be universal (and should be if you ask me), they are the things that I find appropriate. So when in doubt, just use the Golden Rule and treat others as you would have them treat you.
The woman trying to squeeze past you in aisle 5
Beth is the CEO of Inkhouse, which she co-founded in 2007 and has grown into one of the top ranked agencies in the country. Beth’s been recognized as one of the Top Women in PR by PR News, the Top 25 Innovators by The Holmes Report and as an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist. Beth believes that shared values, and the freedom to create are the foundations of all meaningful work. She brings this philosophy to building a culture of creative progress at Inkhouse.