Dear Stasia:

I think social media use in public is out of control. The smartphone is making people behave – not so smart. It’s selfies everywhere, outside, inside, you name it people are snapping pictures of themselves. What has become of our culture. How is it that social common sense doesn’t apply to social media use? Or, am I ‘socially’ behind the times? I don’t know what to make of it all. At a loss. Thank you, Socially Confused

Dear Socially Confused:

It appears nothing is off limits today with one’s ‘smart’phone. However, it doesn’t have to be this way if people would practice just the most basic of social skills. Let’s first address the issue of selfies, and second the overuse of social media and technology in public.

The Fun Selfie – People who snap photos of friends, family, babies, puppies, celebrations, and all over humorous moments that they want to be a part of and in the photo. I’m completely onboard with this. The Obsession Selfie – People who snap provocative and self-adoration photos anyplace, anytime, anywhere. It’s all too much and a little lesson self-moderation would go a long way.

From your letter, it sounds like you are referring to the second type and the overwhelming number of people doing so in public. It is my hope that the question of selfie protocol will become a staple in homes and an ongoing conversation between members of families.

I love social media and technology. However, we are discussing individuals while busy checking updates, are walking into poles, rear ending cars, and walking out into crosswalks. Here are two examples of taking social media and technology to far – Men checking Facebook updates, scrolling through women’s feeds and (racy photos) in the middle of the Apple store, and while I admire students who work hard, it is best leave the printer at home while going to Starbucks.

Considering how fast technology is changing today, we could all benefit from applying the most basic of social skills to co-exist within the culture of the selfies, social media, and technology. The practice of kindness, manners, respect for others – and self, will go a long way here. Thank you.

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