Law in Contemporary Society
Hey guys,

Eben uses etiquette a lot as an example of a form of strong social control, so I think I might write my second paper on Facebook etiquette or social media etiquette or even for texting. Do you guys have any examples of rules of etiquette that you've noticed? Like it is never bad etiquette to untag photos (it's your image), but it is bad etiquette to untag and then retag (indecisive and annoying for the person who posts). Any examples of people violating etiquettes, maybe due to age and unfamiliarity (like your parents)? Or gender differences in etiquette rules (girls are allowed to text "kk" but apparently I'm not).



-- AlexWang - 19 Apr 2012


I think using a lot of abbreviations while texting tends to be a sign of age. I've heard a lot of people (myself included) jokingly lament about having to decipher text messages sent by people of their parent's generation. I think this could lead to some interesting thoughts about how new technology/new types of communication and the accompanying etiquette create a wider gap between people of different ages.

Also I think texting-as-a-form-of-communication exacerbates or perhaps highlights stratification within our society. A lot of my friends from college/law school treat texting like free pizza lunches - it's unlimited and will always be available - whereas some of my poorer friends from home have limited texting plans and can't communicate via text as much, which means they sometimes get left out of plans and/or group texts/jokes. It's something basic, but I definitely see this new form of communication widening the stratification spectrum.

-- SkylarPolansky - 18 Apr 2012

Thanks Skylar,

I really like your abbreevs examp and the idea that some social norms further alienate the practitioners and those within the community from outsiders. Presumably, abreeving starting in instant messaging and texting to save time typing because it's not as efficient as speaking. What is interesting is that abbreeving became a part of speech, first with things like "lol" and "wtf" but has developed a unique existence just in the spoken realm. Ppl now speak abbreviated words that are near impossible to write (like "deece" for decent, "yoosh/youge?" for usually). I think this is a good example of how quickly social norms develop so that they are no longer connected to their starting points. Whether or not abbreeving is a form of etiquette, however, I'm not sure. I'm not sure what abbreeving says about a person and what not doing it says. Is it a shared language distinguishing insiders from outsiders or does it also police insiders and for what reason (apart from the stigma of being an outsider)?

Your point on the cost of texting is also very interesting. But, presumably, if ppl without text plans have access to internet and can chat, they will not be completely restricted from the text-based social/internet culture and its shared language. Their inability to text will only restrict them from one way of communicating, but not the language as a whole.

Alex, I think this is a really good starting point. There definitely are powerful and agreed-upon codes of conduct in the realms of social media and text messaging. These are undoubtedly hugely powerful sources of social control. However, I think it may also be interesting for you to look at social media's relative ability over us compared to traditional human manners and interaction.

I often wish I lived in an earlier era, free from the onus of technology. Much to my chagrin, I think that social media and text messaging have become more able to control our behavior than older forms of social control, namely face-to-face contact. For example, there have been many times in my life that someone "friends" me on Facebook, and yet, when I say hello in the hallways at school or at a party, they pretend like they do not know me. Of course, they very well may not know me, but just acted according the substantial social norms of Facebook, making it ok to initiate a "friendship" with someone you don't know. It's not that this act is in itself anything bad, but I would hope the social force of in-person etiquette would trump online manners. Instead, I fear we are in a time in which online manners have become a social force superseding regular manners.

Another example of this is when you are with a group of people and everyone is looking at their phones. (I regret to say that I can be guilty of this.)

Hope this helps!

-- AbbyCoster - 19 Apr 2012

You can't forget about being included on a mass text or email where reply-all is used to your annoyance (and cost) for days, with no way to opt out. I always thought there were some flagrant cc/to line abusers at the office. Either over-including on the cc line, or putting you in the in to line when you don't need to act. -- AlexKonik - 19 Apr 2012

Hi, this is an interesting discussion. As Rumbidzai rightly pointed out, I think cultural norms are strongly incorporated into the "etiquette" in new media communications. In Korea, it is seen as "rude" or "abrupt" if you do not use emoticons like smiley faces when you send an e-mail/text to your boss. On the other hand, in America, when sending a professional e-mail/text, it is inappropriate to add emoticons. I think this has a lot to do with the working/company hierarchy cultures. Korean companies have a stronger emphasis on strict hierarchy and respect for the people with seniority. Therefore, when people are communicating with their bosses, it is more important to show that you have respect and liking for the boss than to present yourself as a professional.

-- MinKyungLee - 19 Apr 2012

One wave of change that would be interesting to learn about is how more and more older relatives (parents, grandparents, uncles/aunts, etc) are joining the “social network.” Back in the days when AIM and other instant messaging program were still popular, social networking was restricted to teens and young adults. I was in middle school when AIM was still popular, and I never heard of any friends getting friend requests from mom or dad. Now many of us have our whole family on Facebook. I’ve only heard of strong feelings for or against having family members on Facebook. It’s pretty ironic since we’re so willing to expose ourselves and our lives to complete strangers, but when mom sends us a friend request, we want to take down everything. In the end, it just accrues the times we have waste in “maintaining” a profile.

-- LizzieGomez - 23 Apr 2012


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r10 - 22 Jan 2013 - 18:15:03 - IanSullivan
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