Tag Archives: etiquette

Does Your Cell Phone Make You Rude?


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Back in the day, we tended to focus more on what the person across from us was saying vs. what the person on our phone that we couldn’t see was saying. Nowadays we check email, tweets, texts, calls, etc., and in social situations, this can seem extremely rude. Mashable tackled this in an article yesterday on ending social rudeness by putting your phone away. Lamarr has definite opinions as to what constitutes phone rudeness.

The problem, of course, is that constantly perusing your phone is freaking rude — a clear signal that your reception is more important than anything going on in the here and now. Get this: 10% of people 24 and younger think it’s OK to text during sex, according to consumer electronics shopping and review site Retrevo. That brings a whole meaning to the term multitasking.

When do you feel it is “okay” to grab your phone and give it more attention than you do those around you? Is it ever a good idea? Do YOU know when it’s time to turn that device off and just forget it even exists?

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Etiquette in Paris, France

Face it, no one wants to unknowingly embarrass themselves by being the ugly American. Here’s our short list of etiquette tips that function well throughout France and actually translate fairly well to your microcosm back home. Thanks to Renee from Travel Geeks, who also contributed a conversation that influenced this list, and to Imei for editing and compiling it:

  1. A profuse use of “please” and “thank you” goes a long way. You will hear people constantly saying “merci beaucoup” or just “merci” even more than you hear “you’re welcome.”
  2. In general, adults don’t wear shorts (males) except for exercise, and women don’t wear short skirts and shorts without stockings or tights (except to a nightclub, where you’ll see shorter skirts on women without hosiery). There is a sense of propriety and class, even if the placards and magazine stands near Metro entrances suggest otherwise. My tip: if you travel for business, bring a sport coat, slacks, and a pair of non-sneaker shoes.
  3. I don’t care how many times you might have seen this in a movie, but it is rude to snap your fingers to get the attention of a waiter. In my six trips to France, staying two to three weeks at a time, I have only seen the head waiter clap his hands for his team to quickly clear a table and set up for the next course in a 10-course meal. Instead, catch his attention with your eyes or a hand in the air. [General rule of thumb: if snapping your fingers gets your partner livid, just imagine what it does to your server.]
  4. The Metro posts signs that explain who has priority for seating. Unfortunately, it is all in French. Here it is: women with children, pregnant women, people 75 and older, and those with disabilities. During heavy commuter hours, be aware of those who needs priority seating, even if your feet are begging for a rest.
  5. Stuffed like a sardine into the train? Make your way toward a door one stop before your exit station, and then kindly say, “Pardon.” People understand and will do their best to make way for you to exit quickly. If you are nearest to the door, open the latch or push the green button to open the door, and get off the train so that people can exit. As soon as people have exited, hop back onto the train and move as far back as you can.
  6. France isn’t the land of Provence’s best parfumeries for no reason. People like to smell good here, and my guess is that they appreciate that you smell good, too. My favorite: Chanel’s CoCo for night, and Mademoiselle for day. For men: Hermes’ Bel Ami. Men: if you don’t think this matters, just know that I once met someone simply by being able to identify the scent he was wearing. Women have a refined and sensitive sense of smell. Use this in your favor.
  7. Having traveled around the world, I find that Parisiens do not need nearly as much personal space as Americans. Space is a precious commodity, and they are used to having less of it. A hand at the back, guiding you gently; a greeting of a kiss on both cheeks among closer associates, and other touchy-feely actions fit with this picture. Men: you are the man. Be a gentleman, offer your hand to a woman getting in and out of taxis and cars, settle her into her seat, help her in and out of her coat. You serve the woman nearest to you at the table, and you pour the wine. Her glass is never empty. Women: you are the cat’s meow. Men will wait on you, pour the wine, and often serve the food at the table. If you are feminist and find this offensive, swallow your offense, sit back, relax, and see tip #1.
  8. Parisiens receive many hours of English instruction from a young age. That does not mean they are fluent. Americans also study a foreign language in order to attend college; that doesn’t mean that in a pickle, you can use your French language studies to figure out why someone is yelling at you (besides the fact that street-French is filled with slang and spoken hellafast with missing words or words that are slammed together like a verbal train wreck). I recommend picking up the “French in 10 Minutes a Day” laminated card with typical phrases, numbers, questions, and descriptions of things you will hear and you will need to say, even if all you can say is “Je ne pas parle le Francaise.” There are translator programs for the iPhone, mini-translator products, and a free version of Rosetta Stone available through most public libraries that you can use to practice a few phrases. Your attempts to speak French go a long way toward connection, making friends, and getting around as a savvy (and welcome) tourist.
  9. About food: the buffet is usually reserved for large venues and hotels. What you will notice is how little the locals eat: little or no breakfast, a moderate lunch, and a smaller dinner. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Parisien pile his/her plate high, but s/he does not need to. When the food is made with real butter, olive oil, whole food ingredients, no GMOs, and grass fed animals, the amount of food it takes for your appetite to be satisfied is much less than the typical buffet in America. Rule of thumb: take a smaller plate, and fill it 2/3 full. Leave room for a nibble of cheese at the end of the meal. [Incidentally, Paris is following world trends for obesity, instituting new campaigns and education to reduce the incidence of obesity in children and young adults].
  10. Most Parisien apartments and hotels are constructed of concrete, yet the walls sound like they are paper-thin. Keep your voices down, turn down TVs and electronic devices, and recognize that hair dryers and shavers project sound laterally (your neighbor on the same floor). [Of course, for everything else in the intimate department, just consider it free entertainment.]

Do you have any other etiquette tips to add to this list?

How to Use Chat Room Etiquette

Geek!This is Ashryne’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

The chat room is a wonderful place where people can unite and maybe even help one another. With everything that is good, bad follows closely behind. This guide will explain proper chat room etiquette and provide examples.

  1. Excessive Exclamation or Question Marks – One of the common problems in a chat room is the need to emphasize certain questions, or statements by included 2 billion question marks, or exclamation marks. As an example, Johnny has a question for Chris. Johnny asks Chris “oh no my pet monkey stuck a banana in my PC and now it is broken!!!!????? Help !!!” What would be the proper way for Johnny to ask this question? Well, Johnny could try to ask the question in a much calmer, more relaxed manner. The real question is how did Johnny’s pet monkey get the banana in the PC? Instead, Johnny should ask Chris “my pet monkey stuck a banana into the computers fan and broke my PC. Can you help me?” As we can see by the proper method, Johnny is much calmer and actually explains how the monkey got the banana into the PC.
  2. Foul Language – The second problem that comes up in a chat room discussion is the need to compensate for a lack of who knows what by excessive swearing. Excessive swearing not only causes the chat member to look foolish, but can also be quite annoying. For example, the chat at live.pirillio.com censors filter words and replaces them with (censored) so anyone who swears has that word replaced. This example will be using (censored). Johnny is now angry at Chris because Chris has not responded to his question within 2 seconds. Johnny tells Chris “(censored) your teeth (censored) because you are so cool (censored) my (censored) hug.” Obviously Johnny has a lot to compensate for in this example. By this point in time, an op or halfop would have already removed the issue at hand. Johnny could have kept his cool and used proper chat room etiquette to have addressed the problem. I guess now Johnny will not know why his monkey likes to stick bananas in fans. The proper way to do this would be for Johnny to wait a minimum of ten minutes for a response before speaking and say something like “Chris my good fellow, is there an email address at which I can send you my question in case you were unable to view it in the chat?” As we can see by the proper method, the attitude of Johnny is still a calm and relaxed one.
  3. EXCESSIVE CAPS – The last situation I will address is that of caps lock. Caps lock is a button that makes all your letters appear uppercase. Caps lock can be considered rude, and yelling. For example, Johnny says “MY PET MONKEY TOTALLY ROCKS.” Okay Johnny, I think we get the idea. You have just yelled on the internet, how sad. The proper way to say this would be “My pet monkey totally rocks”. This method gets exactly the same point across, without you getting kicked from the chat.

Remember, always use proper chat etiquette.

Do you Practice Proper Mobile Phone Etiquette?

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We’re all guilty at some point or another. We break one of the golden rules of phone etiquette. Come on… admit it. You do it too! Here are Gordon’s top five ways to become an annoying mobile phone user. DON’T do these!

  • When talking to a friend face to face and the phone rings, abruptly stop talking and answer the phone, and talk as long as you like. It doesn’t matter if it ‘s your mother, your boss or a salesman trying to sell something. Your friend will understand.
  • Leave your ringer turned up while at movies, church, or funerals. When the inevitable phone call comes in and everyone has to listen to the latest rap or country song try not to be noticed as you fumble to turn it off. Everyone will understand.
  • Talk on your phone while driving, weave in and out of traffic lanes, stop abruptly, tailgate and force other cars out of their lanes, while glaring at the other drivers with a “Can’t you see I’m on the phone?” expression. The other drivers will understand.
  • Send text messages and treat them as if they were some kind of top secret military information that if anyone saw them the security of our nation would be compromised. When receiving a humorus text, laugh loudly and don’t tell anyone what is so funny. They’ll understand.
  • Brag to your friend how much better your new phone is than everybody elses, and try not to look too disappointed when a month later your friend gets one that is cheaper and has more features. You’ll understand.

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How to Get Along in an Online Forum

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Do you visit online forums? Do you behave while you’re there? Do you know HOW to behave in a forum environment? Here are some tips to make your forum experience a much happier one for you… and the forum Moderation Team.

  • Read the rules You may have been on other forums and gotten around there smoothly but if you are joining a new community you have to read the rules. You may be doing something that every new member (who didn’t read the rules) does and in worst cases get banned. Read the rules and follow them.
  • No 1337-speak Posts that contains 1337-speak is not always easy to understand. 1337-speak is a very geekish way of writing. You try to replace every letter with numbers and symbols. For example, 1337 means leet, short for eleet -> elite. 1337-speak is even disallowed on some sites. Use proper English and spell check your typing. Do everything to look as engaged as possible. Do not ever use caps-lock for your messages. It makes you look dumb and you for sure will not receive valuable response.
  • Have manners The worst thing is people who join a site and request people to do everything for them. If the site has an introduction forum, introduce yourself to the community. If you have a problem, don’t ask people to do things for you, do what you can to figure out how to do it and in worst case, ask how to do what you want.
  • Try to help others When you have been in the community for a while, you might know more than the average user. Use your intelligence to help people. Tell them what they did wrong and tell them how to do what they want. Moderators can not help all users. Users are there to help and get help.
  • Search before posting Always search before posting about a matter. Every common forum system has a search system that allows you to search through every single post on the forum. Many things get answered several times because some users don’t search before they make their request. This will help the moderators so they can focus on other things, the site itself, so it doesn’t get filled with loads of the same stuff.

Our live community leader Kat also is an Administrator at a huge forums site. GeeksToGo is a free computer-help site, with over a million posts, and more than 200,000 members. She has more than four years’ worth of experience in being an Administrator at these types of forums, and wanted to add the following tips.

  • When posting for help on a computer help forum such as GeeksToGo, be specific. The Staff will have a much easier time helping you if they know off the bat what the problem is. If you don’t know what the exact problem is, give as many details as possible.
  • When you join any type of forums, ALWAYS actually take time to read the Terms of Use (Terms of Service). Every site is different, and some allow things that others don’t. By taking the time to read these prior to signing up, you’ll know exactly what the rules of that particular forum are. This can save you trouble in the future.
  • Don’t spam the forum with a hundred posts in your first day, just to make yourself “known”. You’ll be “known” all right… as a spammer, a pest, and someone to “keep an eye on”. Take time to look around the forums, and see how other people talk to each other. Watch posting style of long-time members and Staff/Mods. This way, you’ll be able to fit in much easier when you do begin posting!

All in all, being a member of an online forum of any kind can be fun, informational and addictive! Don’t burn yourself out by trying to do too much at once. Have fun, be yourself… and you’ll do just fine!

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Mobile Gadget and Phone Etiquette


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Not long ago, I asked our viewers to send me an email with their “Top 5…” as it relates to anything tech. Gordon sent in an excellent list regarding phone etiquette. Following is Gordon’s list:

  • When talking to a friend face to face and the phone rings, abruptly stop talking and answer the phone, and talk as long as you like. It doesn’t matter if it ‘s your mother, your boss or a salesman trying to sell something. Your friend will understand.
  • Leave your ringer turned up while at movies, church, or funerals. When the inevitable phone call comes in and everyone has to listen to the latest rap or country song try not to be noticed as you fumble to turn it off. Everyone will understand.
  • Talk on your phone while driving, weave in and out of traffic lanes, stop abruptly, tailgate and force other cars out of their lanes, while glaring at the other drivers with a “Can’t you see I’m on the phone?” expression. The other drivers will understand.
  • Send text messages and treat them as if they were some kind of top secret military information that if anyone saw them the security of our nation would be compromised. When receiving a humorus text, laugh loudly and don’t tell anyone what is so funny. They’ll understand.
  • Brag to your friend how much better your new phone is than everybody elses, and try not to look too disappointed when a month later your friend gets one that is cheaper and has more features. You’ll understand.

I always hated using my phone while driving, until Bluetooth became available. Although, people who see me driving now think I’m talking to myself or crazy… but they thought that anyway. And poor Wicket. He’s just not ready for his own phone. Maybe one day soon…

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