Paying Attention, Productively Multi-Tasking, or Behaving Rudely?

digitalageLaurie Essig recently had an article in The Chronicle, entitled Profs Fail iEtiquette 101.  In it, she talked about manners in the digital age with an emphasis on digital media in the academic setting.  Professors complain that students don’t listen; instead they are Facebooking, shopping, checking email, or planning their evening rather than participating in class.  Administrators fuss that professors aren’t paying attention in meetings but are instead checking email, planning dinner, or preparing for class.  Are we being rude or are we being productive while multi-tasking?   Essig explores the concept of “not paying attention” in academia which is predicated upon the idea that academics make “a living while talking and hoping someone is paying attention… [yet] no longer think it is important if they themselves pay attention.”  This is also true for the legal profession.  In a recent article in the New York Times, Keep Your Thumbs Still When I’m Talking to You, David Carr notes that the digital revolution “…has made it fashionable to be rude.”  So when we ignore our professor or the meeting’s speaker, are we being rude or behaving like a “wired, well put-together person….”?  Stop by the library and check out Maximize Your Lawyer Potential:  Professionalism and Business Ethics for Law Students and Lawyers or Modern Rules of Business Etiquette to read further on the subject.


Hat Tip:  Laurie Essig, Profs Fail iEtiquette 101, The Chronicle

About Lisa Smith-Butler

Associate Professor of Law Charleston School of Law 385 Meeting St., Suite 322B Charleston, S.C. 29403 843.377.2144
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