A Quick Lesson in Digital Tech Etiquette
Yahoo! recently posted a video, “New Rules for Stylish and Proper Tech Behavior with Guest Voice of Reason: Jerry Seinfeld” where the comedian gave “advice” about today’s tech etiquette.
The video followed a Q&A along the lines of:
Q: Dear Jerry, If someone posts about a death in their family, is it appropriate to “Like” the post?
A: Yes, yes. Death is not 100 percent bad; we need the room.
Q: Is it okay to video a concert with my iPad?
A: Sure, sure. So you won’t enjoy the concert and you won’t enjoy the video and you’ll have negated everything.
Q: Is it hazardous to tweet on Ambien?
A: I don’t think so.
Q: My human resource director just posted a new photo of herself on Facebook. Is it okay to “Like” it?
A: I’ve never had a job; I’m not interested.
Q: If my friend doesn’t respond to my text, is it okay to excessively keep sending more texts?
A: None (Jerry didn’t believe it was a real question)
Although this video segment was far from helpful when it comes to the do’s and don’ts of using technology, I believe the subject is extremely important, especially in the workplace.
We’ve always had pretty universal rules for the do’s and don’ts of “at work” “on the clock” and “business professional” scenarios, but the rise of digital devices and technology has certainly made what is and what is not appropriate for the workplace much more complicated.
Just look at the findings from this CompTIA report (which includes statistics from other sources), which shows the differences between Baby Boomers’ and Millennials’ perspectives on technology (including how it is used in the workplace):
- 43 percent of 18-24-year-olds say that texting is just as meaningful as an actual conversation with someone over the phone, according to eMarketer.
- 40 percent of GenY think that blogging about workplace issues is acceptable, compared to 28 percent of Baby Boomers, according to Iconoculture, a market research company that focuses on consumer trends.
- 24 percent of GenY say that technology use is what makes their generation unique—the number 1 answer—based on Pew Research.
- 74 percent of GenY used a smartphone for work purposes in the last year, compared to 37 percent of Baby Boomers, according to CompTIA.
- 39 percent of 20-something workers and 36 percent of 30-something workers use Facebook for work and personal purposes, according to CompTIA.
- One in five Baby Boomers use Facebook for both work and personal purposes.
- Millennials and GenX believe social media savvy is an important skill set for work, but millennials expect social media access at work without restrictions
So today’s sought after talent desires a tech and social media driven workplace that encourages and supports using both mediums while on the clock. Yet, what are the restrictions—or etiquette—that should come with such “privileges” in the workplace?
For the most part, texting and surfing the web while at work have been strictly forbidden and deemed unprofessional, and even when social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter first came on the scene, logging in on the clock was still frowned upon.
With companies now creating BYOD policies and practices and company social media profiles, now more than ever is extremely important to understand proper digital tech etiquette in the workplace.
So below are a few simple etiquette tips when it comes to using digital tech in the office:
Q: Is it appropriate to “Friend” my supervisor and co-workers on Facebook?
A: Yes, this is appropriate and even encouraged in some teams to build connections and team unity. Yet, others shy away from this practice, preferring to keep their work life separate from their personal life. Whether you “Friend” your colleagues or not is purely based your preference; just remember that once you give your co-workers and manager that “access” to your online life, what they may uncover is fair game.
Q: Should I answer personal texts while at work?
A: No. Just like when email was the go-to communication form, texting on the clock should be used for work-only purposes. A company that allows BYOD policies doesn’t do so for workers to text and talk to their personal acquaintances all day. These policies are still to benefit the business.
Q: Can I take “selfies” at work and post them to my Instagram?
A: Yes and no. If your business is encouraging employees to take photos of themselves while at work to promote the culture and brand, then yes. And, as with all business, make sure these photos are appropriate and positively reflect the company’s brand. Yet, if your business has not encouraged employees to capture its culture and promote it via social media, at work selfies are not appropriate.
These etiquette tips barely scratch the surface. What other advice would you offer for professional digital tech use in the workplace?