Digital Etiquette

WiFi manners

A very valid question is posed above.  When it comes to insights I often default to this one:  “When you go home to your mothers house, do you ever walk into the kitchen, open the fridge and have a good look at what is in there?”

It is amazing how this simple insight makes people smile, most recognise the behaviour as something they do.  It would be an incredibly rude thing to do with a friend or colleage, but we all do it when we go home to visit Mom, or as we Dubliners call her “de Ma”.  The fridge is a symbol for a whole raft of emotions around security, contentment, care and love.  A packed fridge is a welcome home, mothers bounty, always there in case of need.  It is a visual symbol of a mothers love for her children.

My own mother is old and putting it kindly one might say she is a little forgetful these days.  Now when I open the fridge it is to ensure that she is being cared for.  That is sad.  It makes the house a cold and clinical place to know we can’t just turn up and root out a lunch from the contents.

Food etiquette is central to how we interact with others.  Toilet etiquette is not far behind.  You don’t arrive into a persons house and just march straight to the bathroom, unless you are in a very bad state.  Excusing yourself to the bathroom entails a complex code of doubletalk, innuendo and social manners.

Sasha Baron Cohen, in the character of Borat, uses our ‘delicacy’ around bathroom issues as a source of comedy, as in this video, about 3.30 in:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PebL4qCGK1w

Bathroom etiquette requires that we mask our purpose,  We talk of bathrooms and toilets, which were originally places for washing.  We should be asking for the W.C. and indeed this is considered to be polite in upper class English circles. The Queen uses a WC. Other, lesser people, refer to the Loo, the Ladies, the Gents, the little girls/boys room, the Facilities, the Washroom, John, Khazi, Dunny and so on.

Now we have the thorny issue of WiFi to worry about.   As a good host are you expected to give up your access code?  As a guest is it polite to ask for it?  Are you going to spend the dinner party gazing into your smart phone?  When is it proper for a host to ask you to leave the phone in a box for the evening?  If your host asks you to put your phone away should you be mortified and apologetic, or is it OK to tell them to go to hell because they are just Luddites?

Table manners for food and toilets are established and are a still a social minefield.  Phone and WiFi manners are still in flux and are constantly evolving.  One thing is very sure, lots of people are using their time in the bathroom to check up on their live feed!  I just hope they wash their hands first.

The danger of maps

Here is an interesting link:  A Map of who loves who and who hates who in the Middle East

http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/ng-interactive/2014/sep/24/friends-and-enemies-in-the-middle-east-who-is-connected-to-who-interactive

It is interactive so you can select an origin country or group and see just the relations for them.  It is probably very subjective.  After all, who has the knowledge to decode the truth of such relationships in the real world?

Maps are a form of communication.  Whenever you look at a map you should ask some critical questions about it.  “Don’t be silly” you say, “a map is simply a depiction of how the world looks”.  I say to you “Ask who drew the map, and why?”

Go to any city and pick up a local free tourist map.  It is selling you a product, which has been designed and packaged for you by a small group of people.  Your tourist trail is their agenda.

But you laugh at me because you are too modern for that.  You don’t use “tourist maps”.  You use modern technology.  As you scan the map to your destination on your tablet or smartphone who is collecting your data and what are they doing with it?  What information are they giving you?

The guys who drew the tourist map are fairly overt.  At least I know what their job is.  Think I’m being paranoid?  Just wait.  One of these days the Secret Service or MI5 or CIA or FBI or Hamas or Hezbollah or ISIS or the Mafia or the secret league of the sisters of the golden peony will take control of the technology for just a few moments.  You will input your destination.  They will give you a nice little map and it will lead you directly into their clutches.  You may lose your money, your voice, your freedom or your life.

You have been warned.