BlackBerry prayer n. n. The head-down, slightly hunched position that is characteristic of a person using a BlackBerry or similar device. (from WordSpy site)
So, have you gotten Blackberry religion yet? I bet you know lots of people who have. According to WordSpy, Microsoft researcher Linda Stone coined the phrase "CONTINUOUS PARTIAL ATTENTION" (CPA) in 1998. Wow, she was ahead of her time… there are many people paying partial attention to loved ones, speeches, meetings, and other activities while they attend to games, text messages, Twittering, e-mail, Facebook, and any number of other applications.
This is truly the new challenge in etiquette– how do we handle this "CPA" in everyday situations? Is it always rude? The New York Times ran a fantastic article about this on Monday (thanks, Julie M. for pointing this out!). I also noticed that movie theaters are now specifying not only that you should stop talking on cell phones and silence your ringtones, but are also saying "NO TEXTING" during the movie.
This topic really begs discussion. It's Electronic-Time-and-Attention-Clutter (what I refer to as "Allowed" clutter in my book). Here's what I think:
- I think people should openly communicate at the beginning of a meeting or speech about the expectations for that gathering. Ask for what you want, don't make assumptions.
- If you are expecting an important call, text, or e-mail, tell someone that as you sit down together so you can ask their permission and forgiveness for excusing yourself when it happens.
- If you must take a call or text message when with someone, keep it brief and return your attention to the "IRL" person you're with as soon as possible. (IRL means "In Real Life")
- I personally have enjoyed Tweeting a speech from my Blackberry while in the audience as a way of taking notes and sharing the experience with others who can't be there. I think that it does not always mean someone isn't paying attention to you– quite the opposite in this case. Using smartphones can become a very important secondary conversation… from the NY Times article: "'You’ll have half the participants BlackBerrying each other as a submeeting, with a running commentary on the primary meeting,' Mr. Reines said. 'BlackBerrys have become like cartoon thought bubbles.'" As a speaker, I am okay with that, but not okay with someone playing a video game or doing other work.
What do you think? Do you have some outrageous stories of terrible breaches of electronic etiquette? Do you have any ideas on how to get clarity on this very pertinent time management issue? Share in the comments…
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