” Gershon says, that made her realize we are still in the early, Wild West days of digital etiquette, especially when it comes to using these technologies to navigate our romantic relationships. What is ok to us and our group of friends might be unacceptable elsewhere, because nothing has been standardized or codified.”- quote from article (Robin Amer)
As the digital age is now among us, new technologies have arisen that may lack certain etiquitte. Prior to the widespread use of technology, communication was limited to face to face conversations. The new found use of texting, instant messaging, and skype allow avenues of communications which were once absent. When the telephone was first created there was a debate to determine what would be the most appropiate way to answer the phone. The two options were ‘hello’, or ‘ahoy’.
With all these avenues of communication derived from the digital era, the question arises, which outlet would be most appropiate for breaking up with a partner. An anthrologists seeked to answer this question by interviewing 72 students and finding out their commuication habits and break up stragegies. While beginning her interviews, anthropologist Illana Gershon made an interesting point that our generation has terminated the dating process completely. She asked many of her students, “What is you ideal date” many of the answers she received came from students who have in fact, never been on a date. Instead they were responding with social constructs of what a date should be and their thoughts on how a date should go.
Gershon would ask her students questions like,”Once a relationship has been deemed “facebook official”, who is responsible for changing that status after a breakup?” The problem with this question is, there has been no set code to follow in regards to digital etiquette. Is is the person who initiated the breakup or the person getting broken up with? Another question asked was what outlet would be best used to deliver the message of the breakup. Well this would all depend on our intentions. Thankfully, our new technology has allowed options. Do you want to just let it all out with no chance for reply via IM, email, or text message. This option leaves no room for rebuttal, which can be good if you want to avoid a reaction you wouldn’t be able to handle. Some people prefer telephone breakups while others think there is no better option than face to face.
Gershon explains, “standardization doesn’t just happen, it has to be forced.” This is apprearant in her interviews as she discovers, there is no one right way to initiate a breakup. I beleive it all has to do with your purpose and the outcome you want to happen. I am curious to see how people will conform to right and wrong ways to communicate via digital technoligies. Also, I am curious to see how these ways could change overtime as a result of social acceptance.