Technology is making us rude

Another day, another conference call, another set of instant messages, some SMS messages and lots of rudeness.

When the Music StopsI would like to confess that today I have:

  • Joined a conference call without introducing myself.
  • Had an Instant Message conversation with someone I have never met and not even said “hello”.
  • Looked at my BlackBerry while talking to someone, to check an email.
  • Left a conference call to speak to someone else, while the call was still running, and not said anything. I just walked away.
  • Created a slide deck while on the same call – for a completely different project. I nearly had to confess to this rudeness and say “I’m sorry, can you say that again”.
  • Sent an SMS text message to someone without any pleasantries at all.
  • Ignored a phone call – because I knew who was phoning.
  • Stopped listening to someone sat next too me, because I was giving more attention to the PC screen in front of me.
  • Turned up late to a conference call and didn’t apologised for my lateness. These calls never start on time, do they?
  • Ignored a whole set of Instant Message conversations that people are wanting to have with me.

In short – very rude, but very normal.

You might argue that some of this is not really rudeness at all, but that would be putting a gloss onto something that is becoming an endemic issue.

Anyone else like to confess?

4 thoughts on “Technology is making us rude”

  1. OK, I admit to some, but not all of them! Some of those are very rude, but I think common place more and more so.

    With the current trend of less travel and more teleconferences, it’s very easy to get distracted and drift of into completing that “presentation you were supposed to do the other day”. The fault here jointly is that I get called to so many teleconferences that I really don’t need to be on, so they are just dull and I don’t add any value and then it’s easy to get distracted.

    Read Blackberry while talking to someone. I have done that, but try not to.

    IM and SMS messages without, pleasantries. I try not to. I’m of the thinking that “please and Thank you cost nowt” so always try to use them.

    Stop listening to someone because I’m looking at the screen. Quite often, usually when I have been asked to fix relatives PCs, they have an annoying habit of wanting to watch me (which is fine), but making conversation, (which is not). I can’t concentrate on what’s on the screen while talking about the weather, and if they refuse to be quiet, then I just have to ignore them!

    So quite bad, but not as bad as you. 🙂


  2. Unfortunately, I am also guilty of all of the above and I would suggest that everyone in our industry is equally guilty and in a way it becomes acceptable. My biggest ‘hatred’ is meeting tardiness – I for example have a 4 hour journey to the main office and usually the best part of 5 hours to a number of our clients. If I’ve dragged my sorry a$$ out of bed at 4am for a 9am meeting and find that a ‘local’ who lives no more than 20 minutes ago is late… That is the rudest thing anybody can do to me…


    1. I’ve often wondered whether rudeness breads rudeness. Does the fact that it has become acceptable to be late to a teleconference make it just as acceptable for someone to be late for a face-to-face meeting.


      1. Good point Graham – I will personally start a ‘politeness’ campaign in my work-place!! I have already enforced a no laptop rule for all my meetings, so time for progress.

        Now time to chill-out ahead of a visit to the Kettlewell Scarecrow festival tomorrow!


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