Six Ways People Behave Badly With Technology

It’s clear that technology changes the way people act—and interact. Yet, somewhere between productivity and efficiency lies the netherworld of people behaving badly to colleagues, customers and the world at large.

If you fall into any of the categories below, it’s probably time to reprogram your circuits.

  • Public Loudmouth: Why do so many people raise their voice by dozens of decibels as soon as they touch a phone? And then there are the egomaniacs who love to blast their words in the waiting area at the airport or in a restaurant because they’re sure that their “important” communications will impress the unwilling listeners. Nope. It’s just really obnoxious.
  • Body Blocker: It’s remarkable how oblivious some people can be when they’re using a mobile phone. They block aisles, doorways, escalators, sidewalks and just about everything else imaginable. Suddenly, the rest of the world doesn’t exist. Of course, the same people who dawdle when they enter talk mode are frequently in a rush and mowing others over when they’re done yapping.
  • Absentee Brain: Some people have a remarkable ability to pay more attention to the person at the other end of the computer or phone then the person standing or sitting right in front of them. Aside from being rude, this is also a way of doing two things badly simultaneously. In fact, the person trying to juggle two conversations is often so distracted that they later insist you never told them the things you told them. Suggestion: Pay full attention to one person at a time!
  • Chief Jargon Officer: Business and IT leaders have a remarkable ability to toss out a seemingly endless stream of acronyms and jargon. For some, it’s unintentional: They’re just oblivious to the fact that others can’t follow the alphabet soup. However, there’s a subset of the population who talks in code to impress, intimidate or control others. Either way, lose the lingo!
  • Spammer/CYA Specialist: One of the most annoying things a person can do is fire off a blitzkrieg of messages because they’re either disorganized or covering their behind. If you’re constantly in message mode for either of these reasons, think about how you can reduce the junkstream. Otherwise, your reputation will wind up in the trash bin.
  • Dictator: There are times when an IM or email is ideal, but there are other times when it’s better to pick up the phone or walk over to someone’s desk. Unfortunately, some people believe that others should always conform to the way they do things. Lose the rigidity. Even if you prefer messaging, that’s no reason to send 20 emails or IMs to tackle something that could be handled in a two-minute phone call.