Electronic Etiquette – Pay Attention People!


If you go to conferences or workshops (and I hope you do) or just head to a meeting with your favorites device to take notes or whatever, this post is for you.

I was recently at a conference (more posts about that coming soon), and many teachers in attendance either had their computer, tablet, or smartphone. They’re great devices people, don’t get me wrong, but there is an unspoken law about using these wonders of the world. An etiquette that is appreciated by all even if they don’t realize it. I happen to witness these rules being broken and I want to save you the embarrassment of breaking them yourself. In case you’re not aware or have forgotten let me give you the facts of using these devices in public. Abide by them or face the wrath of Omar 😦

Tablet or Smart Phone Use
If you use a tablet (iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Motorola Xoom) you will want to use it to type your notes or bring up websites of interest. All of these tablets have a feature that gives a *click* sound when you type. Turn that sound off! Personally I like the sounds when I’m at home or by myself. I think t is OK to have that *click* if it is a quick note, just a few seconds of typing, but to do it consistently over a period of time is annoying and distracting to those around you. During a presentation? Well that’s just plain rude. The presenter didn’t spend all this time preparing to have you *click* away throughout their presentation. The people in attendance certainly aren’t all that impressed either. It is something that bugs me and not just me. I noticed several other people give the old stink eye (a disapproving glance) to a person who was ignoring this rule. Damn her!

As for laptops, it is unavoidable to hear some clicking s they type, but the clicking on a laptop is a lot less obtrusive and widely accepted as OK during a presentation. I think people are more tolerable in this case because you can’t really turn it off. At any rate, how hard is it to have a notebook and a pen?

Using your device
While listening to a presentation you may be tempted to open your browser and float over to Facebook and chat with some friends. DON’T DO THIS! It’s simply rude. If you’re not into the presentation, tough it out for the next hour. If there’s a part 2 don’t come back. Don’t tell me that you can multitask well, because you can’t. I’m not being an old curmudgeon on this one folks, check out my article here where I site a few studies about how multitasking isn’t great. Also, when the presenter is walking around and you “discreetly” close your laptop, hit the home button, or flip the tablet so the screen is down, don’t you think that person can’t figure out what you’ve been doing. Really?

At any rate, those are the rules and I hope you abide by them. If you know of anymore please leave them in the comments. Omar and I love comments. Like Godiva chocolates.

2 thoughts on “Electronic Etiquette – Pay Attention People!”

  1. Wonderful advice. I actually hate it when people leave the ‘click’ sound on while typing during presentations. Grr…I find these people are also immune to the stink eye.

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