Its taken me a while to sort out what is so socially interuptive about texting.
It’s not fattening, not a carcinogen and not physically addictive… So, why is it so annoying when the person you’re talking to at a party, or the person next to you in a meeting whips out their phone and starts typing?
Many scholarly studies are beginning to delve into the individual affects of time spent using social media, from feelings of isolation through anxiety and withdrawal when unable to “connect” to delusions of interpersonal connection where there is little or none actually happening, my query is more social psychologically oriented: what’s the affect on the group or individuals observing the activity.
It occurred to me after careful observation of both the activity in numerous circumstances that what may be going on from the perspective of the observer is equivalent to when someone in a room full of people cups their hand to a confederate’s ear and whispers something. Everyone knows it’s going on, but no one knows what’s going on.
As George Washington said in his 77th “Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior“:
|77th||Treat with men at fit Times about Business & Whisper not in the Company of Others.|
And, with good reason.
When someone whispers, or otherwise takes a conversation into private, there can be suspicion that they are up to a nefarious purpose, perhaps having a conversation about, or affecting, one of the people present; why else would they not make their comments publicly?
Now, granted, this might go to the observers sense of self image, and that would be an interesting study in itself.
I think this may be part of why I like twittering: most anything I’m seen typing on a device is available for public view. Not 100%, but the vast majority. I primarily post to two places: my Twitter page at https://www.twitter.com/joetennis or My Facebook music page at https://www.facebook.com/joe10music . These are pretty public venues, and if you want to see what I’m typing, it’s all out there. For the most part.
So, something to think about. I’m sure my 6th grade teacher Mr. Provosaro would have some written punishment tantamount to writing out 100 “GWs”, or George Washington Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior… Maybe even just repurposing old #77, that people got stuck with for whispering in class.
Photo credit: Wendi Townsend