Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Modern Manners for the Digital Native: Saying Goodbye

One of my pet peeves: people who hang up the phone without saying goodbye. Saying "goodbye" is the verbal indicator that the conversation has come to an end and signals that it is time to hang up. However, in our society of computer mediated technology and social networking, our sometimes synchronous but often asynchronous conversations often lack the normal cues of face to face communication but do not necessarily lack verbal cues. In other words, when chatting online with someone, especially in a chat interface such as on Facebook or an instant messenger (does anyone still use those?), saying "goodbye" is still a cue that the conversation has come to an end. And yet, why is it that chat conversations tend to just taper off and then one person signs off, leaving the other perplexed and without closure? With the exception of one or two friends, this is exactly what happens to me.

Maybe the conversation wasn't particularly exciting for the other party. Or perhaps they just didn't want to talk to me. A verbal indication that the conversation has come to the end, coupled with a final salutation, should be not only common sense, but also good manners (or netiquette). Don't just leave me hanging! When I go back to check my Facebook tab and see that the reason my chat partner hasn't responded in a while is because they randomly signed off, I'm left feeling a bit like someone hung up on me.

I know, this probably isn't a big deal and I'm sure most people would say "who cares?" But manners matter, pure and simple. I always try to make an effort to say goodbye to people in a chat conversation because it just seems like the decent thing to do. I would never hang up on someone without saying goodbye (unless the point was to hang up on them, as if to make a point) and generally speaking when it's done to me I become quite perplexed. Just because we are sitting at computers does not mean we should abandon our manners. 

And with that, goodbye. 


  1. Great analogy between saying goodbye on the telephone and netiquette. In fact, based on the definition of netiquette, saying goodbye on the telephone is good netiquette. Thanks for sharing:) Your awesome!

    1. Thanks, David! I'm happy to see someone agrees with me.