Communication etiquette: What impression are you leaving?

In today’s modern society, almost everyone gets excited about some form of the latest and greatest advances in technology — whether it is the latest mobile device, the latest TV model, the latest app or the latest computer technology.

We are awash in technology. It is estimated that more than 90 percent of Americans use cellphones, with at least 64 percent of American adults own a smartphone.

And, while looking around your surroundings, you probably notice that most people aren’t able to keep their mobile devices out of sight.

It is all too common for people to tune out the individuals who are sitting right across from them. It is also common to see people pulling out their phones while attending concerts, while listening to guest speakers, being on a date and even while attending business dinners.

Time to reassess

Experts are saying now is the time that we reassess by putting away our phones, and to stop answering phone calls, text messages, tweets, emails, etc., in front of others. We need to start giving the person in front of us priority over other distractions, because you never know when you may be missing out on making a memory.

Also, people don’t want to hear conversations in public areas that should be held privately.

Most will also agree that the problem doesn’t just end with being ignored, being interrupted or being bothered by constant bothersome ringtones — rather it’s what they are saying and doing while their noses are buried in their mobile devices.

Do’s and don’ts for Facebook

According to, Facebook is still ranked the No.1 social network among all demographics. Facebook allows us to have the opportunity to share photos, keep in touch with family, friends and coworkers, read trendy news and, of course, update our timeline statuses.

But when it all comes down to it, it seems that timeline statuses get the most love/hate reactions.

For anyone looking for a friendly reminder on how to not act online, The Huffington Post published seven ways that people are insufferable to others on Facebook:

  • The brag status: This status includes the “I’m living quite a life” brag, which includes phrases like “Guess who just got her dream job” or “Europe!”; the “undercover” brag, which includes phrases similar to “I’ll be traveling for the next three months if you know of anyone who is looking for an apartment to sublease.”; and the “I’m in a great relationship” brag, which includes “Thanks, Derek, for the best year of my life.”
  • The cryptic cliffhanger: This status makes it clear that something is going to happen in your life without giving any details, which includes something as simple as ugghhhh…
  • The literal status update: We all know someone who posts every time they are going to the gym, going grocery shopping and, of course, what they are making for dinner.
  • The inexplicably public-private message: This classifies as a public posting from one person to another, which includes “Can’t wait to hang out with my girls this weekend, @kathysmith, @amandayoder.”
  • The out-of-nowhere Oscar acceptance speech: This status includes an outpouring of love for no clear reason and nobody knows whom the status is about. An example of this status includes “I just want to say how thankful I am for all of you who are in my life. I couldn’t have made it through this past year without you.”
  • The incredibly obvious opinion: This includes statuses every time a nationwide event happens, and everyone gives the same opinion. An example includes “I feel deeply for everyone involved.”
  • The step toward enlightenment: This status states an unsolicited nugget of wisdom, which includes quotes, etc.

Keep in mind that every time you post a status, hundreds or even thousands of people could be reading it. And, a Facebook status doesn’t serve a purpose unless it does something positive for the person it reaches. Keep your statuses short, interesting/informative and funny/entertaining.


A good rule of thumb is to consider your online communication style similar as to when you walk into a room full of strangers. What impression do you want to give? And, what do you want them to say behind your back once you leave, or once you sign offline.


Michele Cuthbert is the CEO and creator of Baker Creative, a global WBE-certified creative brand management firm based in Ohio.