Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Food for Thought: Dinner Texting

It has long been considered common courtesy to not answer a phone call while you are at dinner. However, somehow text messaging has managed to slip through the etiquette cracks.

Some argue it is not as intrusive to the dinner environment since you are not speaking and are able to stop or start as you please- but to me that is the exact problem... it's 100% voluntary.

No one ever says "Sorry I have to take this text" or "It's business". For the most part texting is still largely a leisure activity.

There are certain circumstances where you can excuse a phone call at the dinner table. Yet does the same rule apply for texting?

The New York Times article "Play With Your Food, Just Don’t Text!" uses several examples to explore the social perception of texting in the dinner setting.

Harry Lewis, a Harvard computer science professor and one of the authors of “Blown to Bits: Your Life, Liberty and Happiness After the Digital Explosion”, has strong opinions regarding the matter.

He believes that “people think they can time-share: both texting and talking at once [but] you’re not fooling anybody. No one thinks someone on the cellphone can really be paying attention to another person.” This made me think of a few other instances when I tried to "time share" and how that affected my visit or my experience.

I don't know about you but going forward my phone will remain buried in the abyss that is my purse at mealtime.


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