Smartphone Etiquette in The Digital Age


21st Century Smartphone Etiquette

Don’t you just hate it when people expect you to answer their texts 3 seconds after you got them? I wish I got a dollar each time someone texted me asking if I got their text. In some situations, a 3 second response may be critical; but in everyday business, not so much. When it comes to texting, there is a need to set some smartphone etiquette.

Provide an expected response time

We like to think only because we are text message ninjas, everyone should text as fast as we can. First, we need to develop the common sense that when we send a text message, we should not expect to receive a reply within seconds. However, I believe most of us are programmed to behave like robots because of our fast-paced society, where everything is done and expected to be instantaneous.

Personally, when it comes to sending a text, I put a note by the end of the message saying, “Please text me back within 2 hours, thank you,” or “I hope to hear from you by 2pm.” This way, I am letting that person know when I expect to hear from them, without having to harass them with 20 more text messages asking why they haven’t texted me back yet. This also helps the recipient to plan accordingly, without having to drop what they are doing at the moment just to answer my text.

Use concise topics or questions

Also, I think texting in everyday business, should only be used to address quick topics or questions that you know won’t take more than a few texts to convey. Anything that requires too much texting back and forth should probably be done with a phone call.

Do not text in meetings

There are also other types of cell phone etiquette to keep in mind, such as texting while in a meeting. That does not only look bad, but it also shows the speaker and everyone around you that you are much more interested in what that text message says, than what is going on around you. Don’t you agree if something is really important, wouldn’t it be better to just call?

My biggest pet peeve is when I check my phone and see someone’s missed calls followed by that famous text message: “Call me ASAP.” I would assume that there is no need for a “call me” text because I will see your missed calls, and eventually, call you back. This is what I mean when I say that smartphone etiquette needs to be set. The time we spend trying to solve a complex issue via text messaging, we could be using it on clearing our junk emails from our inbox or finally organizing that paperwork that has been scattered for ages.

Schedule creates freedom

Smartphone etiquette should also be reinforced when it comes to calling. The same way we should not expect an immediate text, do not expect an immediate callback.

A good strategy to buy ourselves some time off from our phones is to set up 2 hours a day (say 10:00 am to 11:00 am and 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm) to check missed calls, make calls or check our voicemail.

The next step is to record a new voicemail message to let people know their call is very important to us and we will be calling them back between 10 am to 11 am or 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm. This way they will know when to expect our call back and we don’t have to stress about not getting any work done because our phones won’t let us breathe! If we were to answer every single text or call back within seconds every day, we would have no life and the closest thing to a personal relationship would be with our iPhone or BlackBerry.

Small changes in the way we handle our smartphone communications can save us some time to actually have that much-deserved coffee break or to finally declutter our desks!