What is Netiquette? Basically acceptable conduct on the net. Don’t get excited, I don’t have anything terribly deep or exciting to share. I’m not a fan of social media; I’m also not one of those that simply advocates that the value of all things is entirely determined by use. Environments host structures of meaning which however elastic nonetheless are the oxygen in which all forms of engagement come to life! One thing in particular disturbs me regarding netiquette: texting. Like all forms of inter-human communication, texting is not immune to various inter-gender, inter-sexual, inter-political plays. So ya, as a young girl I recall how boys wouldn’t return calls right away in order to jack up their sense of self-worth and invariably put me – any girl – in her place! “Dude, wtf, don’t be such a douchebag, there’s protocol!!! Call backs before the 3-day grace period make you a puts! She’ll think you’re desperate and that she’s worthless!!! And whatever you do, do not, I repeat DO NOT even acknowledge her at school. If you see her in the corridors, turn quickly away. How else will she know how lucky she is to have your attention??!!!” At first dejected, girls soon learned how to read silent gestures and boys soon learned to follow standardized plays. We learned early on not to ever say what we mean, and to be “clear” in our overt indifference. It’s truly a miracle people ever get together at all!
Texting has just exacerbated the ridiculous! Bling, bling!!! Noises familiar to anyone with a phone these days! Bling, bling! Hey you have friends! (as my daughter mockingly likes to say!) Email? Text? A notification? Whatever it is, you’ve been notified!! So that means when I send an email or text, unless you find yourself in Bermuda-wifi Triangle, any delay in response must be owned to time-management of sorts. Essentially, the recipient goes through a process at lightning speed, and delegates your importance cross-checked against all other notifications and whatever (if ever) s/he is doing at the moment. It essentially tells you how important you are to that person, or at least how important they conceive themselves to be in deference to you. Some of us will only occupy enough importance to keep one “company” sitting on the can, waiting for their dental appointment, or in temporary partner-absentia (as when they’ve gone to the can…hahahaha). Others aren’t so lucky, and find themselves lost in cyberspace or lockdown! I’d laugh if it weren’t so tragic!
Somehow I’ve never felt empowered by making people wait. I relish not casting others into the land of oblivion. Lapses are suspended moments occupied by silence, the gravity of which are as palpable (often more) an experience of derision as the most caustic of words (it is actually a very distinct kind of derision). I’m not suggesting that all communications are created equal – I’d hope my family and lover would as a rule be motivated to get to me first – but that’s just the point, right? Immediacy suggests care: it says, you matter to me. It says you matter. I’m not oblivious to these plays – not by a long shot – but I don’t care enough to permit it to define my level of engagement. Who the hell decided these damn protocols anyway? 3 days not 2 or 1 day? WTF??!! I don’t feel more enticed by rejected; only bored and literally dis-engaged…so, ya….BORED!
Stranger, newbie, student, acquaintance, colleague, inquisitor? They all get a response from me! And all with equal care (time-permitting, of course) and consideration of their existential import. So yes, text me and I will as a rule respond as immediately as life circumstances permit. Clearly such scenarios are ever more comically and disturbingly realized amongst those with whom you share intimate historical ties – ach, existential anomie overwhelms…until boredom sets in! Until then I remain deliriously amused!