I found a rather thought provoking article on The New York Times recently entitled “Disruptions: Digital Era Redefining Etiquette” by Nick Bilton. This article introduces the idea that if someone asks you a question that can be looked up on the internet, then they are wasting your time by asking. For example, if someone asks you what the weather is supposed to be like tomorrow. To some, asking that question is considered annoying. They may straight out tell you “Look it up on the internet!” Perhaps if you asked this question over text, your friend may respond to you with “lmgtfy” like Bilton personally experienced. “Lmgtfy” stands for “let me Google that for you.”
Bilton says in his article “In the age of smartphone, there is no reason to ask once-acceptable questions: the weather forecast, a business phone number, a store’s hours.”
I get it. I do. It is annoying to play “researcher” for someone and look up the weather when they are fully capable of doing so but at the same time, this attitude towards these questions could spread into other communication. For example, the article says that saying “hello” when starting a conversation or saying “goodbye” when talking on the phone is starting to be considered a hassle to listen to. Personally, I feel a little miffed and awkward when a person is done talking to me on the phone and simply hangs up. Did I make them mad? Did they get disconnected? What if I wanted to say something more?
“I have decreasing amounts of tolerance for unnecessary communication because it is a burden and a cost. It’s almost too easy to not think before we express ourselves because expression is so cheap, yet it often costs the receiver more,” said Baratunde Thurston in the article.
People consider that this communication is useless or time consuming. A simple “hello.” What’s next?