Etiquette for the Technology-Obsessed

Jul 6, 2015

Cellphones, and now smartphones and mobile tablets, have changed our world in wonderful ways, connecting us anywhere and everywhere. And time has flown. Simple cell phones are disappearing as smartphones and tablets get smarter and cheaper. Meanwhile our own communication habits are changing. According to Pew Internet reports, over 70 percent of Americans now prefer texting over calling.

We text… check our email, Facebook accounts, our Instagram stream. We all know people who do these things more or less continuously, throughout the day. And at night our smartphones and tablets lie within arm's reach on bedside tables, sometimes glowing and dinging softly, as we try to get a little recharge in before another day of communication begins.

We’re asked to turn off our phones at every performance, but we see the unmistakable glow in seats around us. On planes there are passengers who need to be asked twice to power down, and they do it resentfully.

To some, all of this is a way of life; to others it’s an annoyance that crosses a line. On this show we'll look at how we use our devices to stay connected, and ask, do manners even matter? 

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  • Henry Alford –  humorist; journalist; author, most recently, of Would It Kill You to Stop Doing That: A Modern Guide to Manners
  • Maggie Mahoney – high school student from West Hartford; wrote an op-ed for The Hartford Courant, “Time to Put Away the Anti-Social Media”
  • Scott Stossel – author, My Age of Anxiety: Fear, Hope, Dread, and the Search for Peace of Mind


  • “Gne Gne,” Montefiori Cocktail
  • “Online,” Brad Paisley
  • “Unfriended,” Garrison Keillor

Jonathan McNicol and Faith Middleton contributed to this show.