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Beyond Zoom Etiquette: 21 Rules for Using Tech Now

As technology evolves, so too do the rules that govern us. Here’s how to ensure you don’t become a pariah. Plus: A refresher course in Zoom decorum.

WHETHER YOU wanted to fit in or stand out in high school—be the influenced or the influencer—adhering to social norms was key to navigating and surviving the experience. The same applies to new technology today, where a failure to understand the shifting landscape (which recent studies suggest is still dictated by teen girls, somehow) can quickly make you a pariah. Fear not, we have you covered. Even as the tech world continues to churn out exciting devices amid the chaos and crisis of 2020, these etiquette guidelines will keep you on the cutting edge of your class, helping you improve and update your behavior—or else.

1. Once you and your roommates acquire separate homes, you can only share streaming accounts for a grace period of one year. 2. If that HBO Max password belongs to an ex, however, the grace period shrinks to one month. Flout this rule and you must get back together. 3. Roughly one-third of U.S. adults have gone looking for love on dating apps, according to Pew Research. While you needn’t view your Hinge, Bumble or Tinder profile with shame, it is still verboten to pose in a mirror or while holding a fish. 4. At least one of your dating profile pictures should depict you with a recent haircut holding up a newspaper—its date clearly visible. 5. We’re pretty certain that watching a video on your smartphone, at full volume, without headphones, violates the Geneva Convention. If not, start revising, Geneva. 6. Avoid FaceTime PDA whether bantering “innocently” or plotting dinner plans. Restrict romantic video calls to your home or hotel rooms. 7. Absolutely do not kiss the camera. 8. You needn’t wave goodbye at the end of a Zoom call. But if someone initiates a wave, reciprocate in kind. Your wrists can rest later. 9. No party needs to make up a good reason to end a phone call. Elaborate and trite farewells are vestigial Landline-Era nonsense. 10. You’re allowed to live-tweet a TV show or movie (sans spoilers). You’re no longer allowed to live-tweet strangers’ behavior as if they’re a TV show. 11. Use video doorbells to ward off porch pirates and document cute animals that wandered into your yard—not to spy on your only mildly sinful neighbors. 12. Don’t fret if you accidentally steal from the self-checkout. Stores budget for this so-called “shrinkage” and it’s arguably their fault for making you do the job. 13. However, if a human is assisting you at checkout, remove your headphones—no exceptions. If the store can keep its toilet paper stocked, you can pause your podcast. 14. Don’t just write back a curt “seen it” when a friend sends you a popular meme. Just act like he or she discovered it first. It’s the most harmless possible version of lying. 15. The world will never tire of cute dogs or pretty sunsets with cute dogs in the foreground. 16. Regardless of what your Gen-Z niece says, there’s no age-limit for joining TikTok. But there is a limit on spastic dance moves. 17. Never ask a bartender to charge your phone. He has to remember more than 100 drink recipes. You can remember to juice your phone before heading out the door. 18. You’re under no obligation to match the enthusiasm someone else has for using emojis. Just remember that ending texts with a period is an act of malice 19. No phones at the dinner table. But you may designate a table captain to keep one close by in case no one can remember the name of that guy from that movie. 20. If you’re one of the 41.8 million Americans who bought into “smart home” tech, teach guests how to control the lights before that urgent 1 a.m. quest for the bathroom. 21. If you’ve ever met anyone named Alexa, you’re not allowed to own an Amazon Echo. If you’ve ever met someone named Google, the Cyborg Era has begun.

How to Bloom on Zoom

A quick guide to acting professional on video calls ZOOM IS a blessing and a curse. The ubiquitous virtual meeting place keeps us close to important people in our lives but never lets us truly escape the office. And it’s quickly forced us to develop new etiquette. First, always know where your camera is pointed. This lets you conceal your new double chin and helps everyone forget you swore off wearing pants in March. Next, master muting. If you see people tearfully flailing on screen, assume they’re trying to get you to unmute. Conversely, if you’re bad-mouthing your boss with the mic on, your resume may need updating. Also, no eating. It’s hard to pay attention to last month’s sales figures while watching someone chow down. That said, a well-timed sip of coffee can perfectly punctuate your point. If you’re multitasking, keep your phone below the desktop screen and remember that even if you clicked over to shop in a new tab, the camera still sees all. Lastly, as when attending a party, never be the first to arrive nor the last to leave. And when it’s over, shoot the host a quick note of thanks. Especially if you called him a naive twit while your mic was hot.

—Matthew Kitchen

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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