The new rules of etiquette in the digital age

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From The New York Times:

Tom Boellstorff, a professor of digital anthropology at the University of California, Irvine, said part of the problem is that offline and online communications borrow from each other. For example, the e-mail term CC stands for carbon copy, as in the carbon paper used to copy a letter. But some gestures, like opening an e-mail with “hello” or signing off with “sincerely,” are disappearing from the medium.

This is by no means the first conundrum with a new communication technology. In the late 1870s, when the telephone was invented, people didn’t know how to greet a caller. Often, there was just silence. Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor, suggested that people say “Ahoy!” Others proposed, “What is wanted?” Eventually “Hello” won out, and it hastened its use in face-to-face communications.

Now, with Google and online maps at our fingertips, what was once normal can be seen as uncivilized — like asking someone for directions to a house, restaurant or office, when they can easily be found on Google Maps.

Continue reading the rest of the story on The New York Times