Musashi Mix Inq

Palliativity 126: Etiquette and Protocol

Posted on May 26, 2011

{x} Away, You may be disturbing

A difficult question of communication etiquette came up in conversation with friends a couple years ago. We had read on Facebook that our friend's grandparent had just passed away. My friends and I wanted to send condolences but were not sure just by what conveyance to send such a message.

Should we call? No, that's too invasive.

Text? Too casual.

Chat when we see them online? No, they probably just want some space to browse without interruption.

Facebook wall post? Far too public.

Facebook message? Possibly…

Nobody wants to video-chat when they're mourning.

Maybe just email them… hmmmmmm—

I used to laugh about the preposterously complicated Victorian fan and flower language or the far too cerebral courting poems of ancient Japan. The truth is that human communication has changed very little over time.

Referencing classic texts and spinning out variations of traditional idioms loaded with silliness and social-commentary has been replaced with wiki-consciousness and memetic humor.

People are people.

Communication is a battlefield.

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