The eight rudest things people do with technology – Are you guilty of these?

The rudest things we do with technology

I heard a discussion on the radio this morning about the rudest ways that people use technology at work. A survey was conducted soliciting people’s opinions about the least polite things that we do with our devices, and they’ve come up with the worst eight.

It’s confession time. Unfortunately, I am regularly guilty of most of them. However, in my defence, so is just about everyone else that I work with. So while I can see how some of these seem rude – others may just (for better or worse) be the new normal behaviour.

Anyway, here are the survey results for the rudest technology behaviours seen around the office.

    1. The worst, according to 54% of people, is checking email on your phone during a meeting. (Everyone I know does this – some more discretely than others.)

    2. Almost half of people surveyed (49%) complain about those who check texts during a business lunch. (I can see this one. It seems even ruder to me than checking emails in meetings. The cultural vibe of a meal is more personal that a boardroom meeting.)

    3. 20% of respondents complain about people using ALL CAPS TO MAKE THEIR POINT STRONGER in emails. (Yeah, that’s actually pretty ANNOYING!)

    4. 19% of people hate being included on infinite email chains that do not have anything to do with them. (We’ve noted before that studies have shown how email overload makes you dumber than smoking pot does.)

    5. LOL! Using “text speak” in emails is a pet peeve of 18% of respondents. (OMG, don’t do that @ work. THX)

    6. A similar 18% don’t want to hear your personal cell phone conversations conducted in public areas of the office. (That’s why they made cell phones so portable – you can walk to somewhere private to discuss Junior’s diaper rash.)

    7. Texting while walking through the office is offensive to 17% of people. (Okay, I mentioned this one in my article The 7 coworkers we can do without, but frankly, I’ve come to terms with that fact that everyone does this.)

    8. Emailing a person who is sitting right beside you rather than just standing up and talking to them directly came in as annoying to 16% of respondents. (This can be rude – but sometimes there are reasons for emailing- you might want to have a record of the conversation. Or speaking to someone directly could interrupt the person who might be busy with other things. Emailing allows them to respond on their own schedule.)


The people I heard discussing this survey on the radio seemed to agree that all eight of these behaviours was outright rude. I’ve always worked for websites, so maybe it’s just the culture of my workplace that makes most of these seem normal rather than outrageous. How about you? Do these seem like rude uses of modern technology or just the way many people interact nowadays?

(Note: After hearing the radio discussion, I did some digging and found several websites referencing the survey, but unfortunately I could not find one attributing its original source.)

Peter Harris

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