One of the first things I learned when I got my Blackberry was that it was rude.

Why was it rude? Well it was rude to use it when socializing with others.

And you know what, they were right.

Smartphones are really quite handy. They can pretty much do anything involved with technology. Want to watch a movie? Play a video game? Download a cool song? Surf the net? Keep track of your life? Solve complex algebra? Take pics of your cute-as-a-button kitty?… I could go on, but you get the idea. Smartphones are the shit.

But, like Uncle Ben said, with great power comes great responsibilities. That means you have to watch when and how you use your smart phone.

This also applies to laptops, which have been around for a little longer, but thanks to wi-fi, they are pretty damn mobile as well.

The main thrust of this etiquette blog is when to use it and when not to. As I was told early on, it was rude to play around on my smart phone when socializing with friends or family. Same goes for using your cell phone to text or playing around on your laptop.

It only makes sense. If you take the time to get-together with someone in person, they should be the focus of your attention. You shouldn’t be playing around with whatever device you have because it tells that other person…

 “I’m bored, I’m gonna do something else while you blather on about whatever it is your blathering about.”

See, rude.

These days, I minimize my time on my Blackberry when around family and friends to times when I have a moment to myself, or when we are talking about something online and use out devices to go check it out.

Which is the flip-side of this whole thing. As much as some people think these devices can divide us, they can also bring us together.

There have been a few nights when we were talking about things from our past, like comedy records, TV skits, etc, and we’d Google them, or search for them on YouTube. If we found them we’d gather around the laptop or iPod and watch and have a good laugh and bask in our collective nostalgia.

But when it’s one person burying their nose in their device, cutting themselves out of the conversation or the group, well I just have to ask myself, why are they there?

What’s even worse? when the one person who comments on the rudeness of using one’s device around other people becomes the worst offender. They blatantly use their laptop when guest are over or play with their mobile device while sitting in the middle of a conversation. True, some can multi-task, playing around on Facebook while listening to the conversation.

But, from what I was told, that’s rude.

So, the next time your hanging with friends or family and you feel the urge to diddle around with your mobile device or surf around on your laptop, ask yourself this question. If you were talking about something and saw someone tune you out because they felt it was more important to update their Facebook status, how would you feel?

Or…

If the person who was so vehemently against people using their devices in social situations becomes the one who does everything they railed against, what would you think of them?

Maybe, you’ll write a blog about it.

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