Friday, July 06, 2012

Phone It In

Is your mobile phone your kryptonite?

Just last night I was having dinner with my Stanford, sipping cheap beer out of cute little, cowboy-shaped glass mugs, when my hand made a run for my cracked iPhone.

He had to take a business-related call outside, so checking my phone wasn't out of bounds, at least where Emily Post was concerned. As a rule, I leave my mobile in my purse when I'm enjoying the company of others, and I typically expect the same from my companions.

The thing is, society is evolving, and so are the lines about what's appropriate and what's not.

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting piece addressing social media etiquette, saying more and more people are having a difficult time refraining from texting, tweeting, Facebooking, and otherwise communicating during social scenarios.

While dining out or entertaining in others' homes, we've become accustomed to Instagramming the entire experience, from soup to nuts.

And you know what? That's not okay with me.

I get the occasional check-in. Maybe even a photo here and there. But I have a real problem with people who can't keep their phones out of their faces while I'm trying to engage them in pleasant conversation.

Over the past couple years, I've chosen to make my home a social media-free zone during evenings of entertaining. Call me selfish, but when I spend hours slaving over the stove to make delicious bites and bevvies to match, I expect my guests to return the favor and be a bit social... with the other folks in the room.

Not those on the other end of their social network.

I guess it hearkens back to the days of birthday party sleepovers. My mom made me make tough choices about who to invite to the birthday parties of my childhood. Not in a position to host every kid in the class, I had to pick and choose who attended the celebration.

And that meant keeping the party hush-hush.

Out of sensitivity for others (and diminished awkwardness on our end), party invitations were discretely distributed.

By -horrors- snail mail.

When people put it on blast that they're at my party, it embarrasses me, and makes others feel left out.

And that's not the point of having a party.

The social media-free zone also ensures everyone in attendance is engaging with each other. Isn't that the great thing about throwing a party? Introducing friends from different social circles can bring on fun dynamics, provoking conversations and other delightful happenings.

I get that we should respect each other's preferred communication style (and for the record, mine is text or tweet; I rarely, rarely listen to voicemail. Consider yourself warned.), but we should reserve that communication for less intimate situations.

Follow the rules in my home, and you can count on many return invitations.


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Kate's Random Musings by Kate the Great is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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