– Because you know the world has no point…Really
In these Instagram-Twitter-Facebook-GooglePlus – and all the other not so wellknown social media hotspots, hashtagging has become the new global child. With hashtags you can make your own statement, and if you’re lucky, several others will follow your example by hashtagging along with you about the same cause or theme.
So far a single picture on Instagram can result in up to 20 or more hashtags for everything ON the picture itself – AND the context itself – for example #food, #blogging, #healthy living, #interior und so weiter.
It’s come so far that sometimes people ends a complete sentence by adding (for example) “hashtag no homo” – meaning that what they’ve told (usually a guy) to – also usually a guy – is meant in a purely platonic way and is not in any way romantic. They actually add the word “hashtag” to what they’ve just said.
Of course that is the way with medias: Some of them are melting, integrating into each other – and some of them just disappears. (Quora, anyone???) However, all this integrating the online with the offline communication can be a bit confusing for some, and plainly annoying for others. Your grandparents for example… 😉 According to this author, hashtagging has become the epitome of the way people engage in social interactions – typing more on their smartphones than actually being present at gatherings with other people. No wonder there’s a lot of talk about how society has become more segregated! I mean – look at what they’re doing? Hashtagging along, desperately trying to be the leader of the social media crowd with the most fun or cool social media value, completely absorbed and not present… not even at the Oscar’s!
I think it’s a rare case today if you’re in your friends or acquaintances company, and there aren’t at least SOME of them whom at SOME point starts texting on their phone in some sort of social media. I once joined a party where everyone completely engrossed in commenting on the others’ tweets rather than BEING PRESENT. How’s that? This night I had deliberately put away my own phone for the sake of presence and for the enjoyment of being with people. Instead I ended up talking to my beer almost the whole time. Everyone at the table had efficiently removed themselves from the presence of people in the room with their phones. Sad really.
I think it’s sad. Just call me an old fart or old fashioned, but I think the highest form of etiquette nowadays is actually being with people, looking at them (and not anywhere else!) and listening to what they’re saying. That sort of attention will not come easily these days, nevertheless I think it’s about time we’ve started focusing on moving away from our phones and began being – and staying – present when we are together with people.
Now, how will I remind those who do not respect that? And what can you actually do when the smartphone-abuse kicks in?
I will tell you with these 5 tips for breaking the social media smartphone presence-killers:
1. Walk away, leave the table or company. When they run after you (after a while) just tell them that you came because you wanted to see them – not seeing them text on their social media newsfeed. If they can’t respect you or the fact that they’ve been rude… well, you weren’t that important anyway!
2. Start talking to another person at another table/in another group which you don’t know, but hopefully does not look at his phone during your conversation. When your friend shows up and asks who this is and why you’re talking, answer with a light “Oh, I really enjoy talking to people”. Smile and ask “Have you finished your conversation or do you need a few more minutes?” By all means, try to be polite while doing this, otherwise it won’t have any effect.
3. Pick up a book or magazine and start reading or something alike, until they discover your absence and asks what you’re doing. Smile and asks them that you hope they didn’t mind you took off to do your own thing because they seemed occupied elsewhere and you hate to waste your time with people who is not present.
4. Go to the bathroom and stay out there for a long, long time. When they’re finally done with their online conversations they will start to wonder where you are.
5. If nothing else works, tell them in no uncertain terms that you feel pretty annoyed and slighty offended that their online activity/newsfeed is more important than your company.
Of course there is a silver lining to everything. And answering an important sms/call or looking up the next bus is perfectly OK. Like all other things it’s a delicate balance. If you start to feel ignored, annoyed or that you are not paid as much attention as you’d like, well, you’re probably right! Therefore: Take action. Refuse to be a part of their bad manners, and take action. They probably don’t know how their behavior affect your feelings, but I say you owe them by telling them – either by actions or words.