Poll: How Has Technology Changed Our Social Calendars (And Manners)

The New York Times reported on a trend in the Sunday Styles section this morning — no, it wasn’t a review of the recent Margiela for H&M collaboration or a recap of a dress Kate Middleton wore, it was about how our social calendars have evolved with faster communication.

More so, the article questions how social media and texting may have actually made us prone to being ill-mannered flakes when it comes to making plans with others.

Case in point: Have you ever had plans with someone, only to have them text a “sorry I can’t make it” message 10 minutes before the appointment? Or worse, 30 minutes after the appointment was scheduled? At least in New York City, the city where I personally reside, this is far from rare.

Before texting and tweeting were of common practice, you had to call someone on the phone and excessively apologize. Now, a quick email can get the point across without the awkwardness.

On the other hand, with easier communication comes the ability to pack more into a schedule. Scheduling, canceling, and re-scheduling becomes a breeze — after all, it’s hard to stay mad when “everyone” is doing it.

As a digitally-savvy group, what do you think? Is there an inherent rudeness escalating with our increase usage of fast and easy social communication? Or are the etiquette rules simply evolving with the times?

[poll id=”26″]

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13 Responses

  1. Ais

    If you’ve got plans and you can’t make it, give as much warning as possible; weeks if it’s a big event, days if it’s smaller, hours if you had something come up that’s last minute or an emergency that prevents you from keeping your plans. If you’re running late, or you anticipate you will be late, calling 10 minutes beforehand to say “hey, I’m going to be 10 minutes late” is acceptable; but 10 minutes beforehand for a full cancellation is never a good idea–30 minutes after is even worse! While it’s easier to schedule and re-schedule, it doesn’t mean it’s as easy to make time for whatever period you want to re-schedule for.

    • Profile photo of

      I agree Ais. Technology has made it easier for people to flake last minute without feeling sorry because typing a quick “Sorry I can’t come” is easier than drumming up the courage in your voice to apologize to someone. I was recently meant to go to dinner with this girl who is “well known” and first she told me she would be running a bit late. I decided to delay my arrival because the other people we were having dinner with, I had never met, so she as my “host” should not have to leave me waiting with people I don’t know. And to top it all of she didn’t show up at all and texted me at 3am to say “she had an argument with her ex”. I ignored her, she texted me again and I called her out on her bull s**t . I’m not the oh it’s ok type of girl. I know when I am not being treated as a priority and I will call you out on your behavior young lady !

  2. Profile photo of Clara

    I’m just a flaky person I think hahaha
    I am pretty good at canceling though – my rule of thumb is to try to cancel before they would have left to go to the place. if i’m meeting someone at the dining hall for lunch after class, I could cancel five minutes beforehand, but if we’ve got plans to meet up somewhere far away I’d obviously give more notice…

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  3. Profile photo of Hey Mishka
    Hey Mishka

    This is definitely true (hugely so in NYC) and I think it should be on everyone’s list of things to improve upon (including mine). Being genuine and respecting other people’s time can win you a lot of points in any industry, but not doing so can burn bridges quickly.

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  4. Profile photo of Rachel

    I really agree with these, and I’m even at fault for it. Its so easy to just say no over a text, while so hard in person. So, I would say that technology has definitely contributed to increasing rudeness

    Glitzy Blues

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  5. Profile photo of Devon - InformedStyle.com
    Devon - InformedStyle.com

    I think that flakes will be flakes no matter what technology they have at their disposal.

    I’m one of those old-school people who keeps a pen & paper agenda, rather than an electronic calendar, and I think that having a view of a whole week’s worth of activities and notes in one ‘snapshot’ helps avoid last-minute scheduling issues.

    The Golden Rule of treating others as you would like to be treated definitely applies! Being stood up for drinks/lunch/a meeting is not fun…why do it to someone else?


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  6. the kimberly diaries

    I think canceling right before an event via text unless it’s a true emergency is incredibly rude. In NYC it’s pretty standard to be running late because it’s hard to predict how long it will take you to get somewhere by subway train or taxi, but overbooking on purpose is in poor taste.

  7. Profile photo of Bree

    I seriously never cancel plans, if I said I’d be there then I’ll be there. I am sometimes late but I always let the person know that I’ll be a few minutes so they aren’t left wondering. My parents always made being on time/ showing up a big thing in our household so I guess it’s just instiled in me.

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  8. Profile photo of Nasreen

    Yes definitely. Hanging out with friends is so much more different now, sitting in silence all on our phones and im not saying i dont need my technology but i really do wish I lived in another time -sometimes. When it was all fancy and mannerly etc etc. maybe thats just fantasy but ANYWAY yeah we all need to have some more manners haha.


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