By Hayleigh Gowans
For many months, I’ve had the idea to write an etiquette column, focusing on how manners work in the modern world. With the rise of technology such as smart phones, social media and the internet, an entirely new set of rules of how to act like a civilized and respectful person in society has been introduced.
In a fast-paced world where many put themselves first, it can be easy to get into the habit of breaking good manners. Cutting people off to get to your destination, sighing loudly when the person in front of you at the supermarket needs a price check or writing a rude comment on an online post are some examples of poor manners I have noticed in my daily life.
A lot of this may be attributed to the idea that everything should be available instantaneously. When we get used to having everything in a quick manner, it can be easy to get annoyed if it takes longer than usual.
My main dilemma in undertaking a column on etiquette is that I am not an expert in this field, and I don’t want to pretend to be. After some more thought, I came to the realization that I don’t have to be an expert in etiquette. I’m learning myself every day, so why not use this learning experience as a platform for other people to reflect on and learn from?
When etiquette and manners come to mind, people often think of the experts such as Emily Post, Judith Martin (a.k.a. Miss Manners) and Letitia Baldrige, who served as Jacqueline Kennedy’s social secretary.
In this column, I hope to incorporate basic tips from these experts into a guide for everyday situations, and address situations that have arisen from the introduction of the technologies of the past few decades. I want to research how older etiquette rules can still apply to modern society, how these tips have evolved to fit today’s world and how some of these rules have become antiquated.
Some topics I hope to address are conversations (in-person and online), phone calls, emails, dining, driving manners and thank you notes, just to name a few.
My idea is that if everyone thought twice about their manners and treated each other with respect, the world would be a better place to live in. I hope to bring you along with me as I look into the ever-evolving world of etiquette.
If you have an etiquette question or would like to submit a topic for discussion, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next time, mind your modern manners.
I am a reporter for the Eagle Bulletin and Cazenovia Republican at Eagle News. I report on topics ranging from town and village government, business, news and features. I am a 2014 graduate of the Roy H. Park School of Communications and have a degree in Journalism and a minor in Psychology.