8 Ways To Be A Better Person In The Digital Age


1. Put Your Phone Down From Time To Time, Jesus

The other day a friend of mine wanted to know if my iPhone fell into a river, would I jump in to save it? The answer is no, obviously, but only because I would probably be wearing something at the time that I wouldn’t want to endanger by hopping until a body of water that contains certain unknown particles. Plus I have an insurance plan on it so I could just get another one. Our phones really are an extension of our bodies now — a third arm, a third eye, whatever you want. We are always checking our phones for the next beep, the next email, the next @reply. But all that does is take away from real life, human interaction. I mean why even talk to people if we are going to sit inside our phones all the time?

2. Don’t Even Touch It On Dates

When you go out on dates, or out on lunches with people, a lot of people put their phones right on the table. Easy access, I guess. But it’s kind of rude because you’re saying that whatever is happening right then and there is not as captivating as the next time your phone buzzes. Take a hint: keep your phone in your pocket or in your bag, and if you REALLY need to, sneak glances at it when your friend goes to the bathroom OR you yourself excuse yourself to the bathroom so you can peak at your own phone. Don’t let anyone know you are so into the digital that you don’t care about the personal.

3. Cut It Out With The Passive Aggressive Facebook Status Updates

We have all been there before: somebody pisses us off and we get angry. So how do we retaliate? Why, by making an ever so vague, although not quite that vague, reference to the person or the situation, knowing full-well that they will see it and that other people will subsequently “Like” what you said. That’ll show ’em! Except no, it doesn’t.

4. Walk Around Without Headphones From Time To Time

When I move out into society, I’m plugged in. I’ve got my tunes playing, and I’m probably jamming to some stuff I really like. But when you are plugged into your own world and removed from the street, nobody will talk to you. Plus, you make yourself a target for muggings NOT TO MENTION getting hit by cars or busses. Every time I’ve almost gotten hit by a bus it’s because I had my headphones on and wasn’t paying attention. But even on a more aesthetic level, take the time to listen to the city around you. Make light eye contact with people. Listen to and be inspired by the sounds around you.

5. Remember To Have Real Conversations With People

The digital age is great, but what ever happened to real human connections? Try to talk to somebody new once a day. Get to know them. What are their interests? What is their story? THEN you can add them to Facebook.

6. Buy Somthing Every Hour At The Coffee Shop You Freelance From

Don’t be the asshat sitting in the cafe for hours sucking up alllllll the Wifi and nursing the same box of apple juice you got when you rolled into the place at 10 this morning. Be courteous, you know? And try to buy something every hour you’re in the place. Even if the place is packed and you think that “they don’t need your money,” you don’t want to be a leach.

7. And While We’re At It, Bring A Power Strip To The Coffee Shop

You’ve been going to this coffee shop forever now, and you know where all the outlets are. Instead of using the like one of three outlets in the whole spot, bring a power strip from home so you can share the connection with all the other freelance bloggers and record producers in the room. PEOPLE WILL LOVE YOU.

8. Chill OUT With The Online Negativity

People are entitled to their own opinion, and comment sections of websites are fascinating ways to engage a community of readers or listeners or whatever your audience is. Sometimes you might read an article that really puts you off, but instead of attacking the writer, why don’t you just say what’s wrong with their reasoning, from your point of view? Hostility never leads anywhere but down.

Case-in-point: last weekend I wrote “15 Things Gay Men Need To Stop Doing,” an important piece for me that allowed me to speak some stuff that’s been on my mind for a while. To write the piece, I actually talked to a number of my gay male friends to find out what irked them about gay men or gay male culture. So, the piece is more of a portrait of gay men by gay men and less my specific condemnation of gay culture. Anyway, some brilliant person thought it would be a wonderful idea to email me and tell me, in the meanest possible way, that I was just mad and jealous because I am “black, ugly, effeminate and a nigger” and that he “felt sorry for me.” First of all, I am not even effeminate. And even if I was, the most important thing here is that genius took the time to email me at my personal email address to tell me how much he hated me. He doesn’t even know me.

Bro, is it REALLY that serious? Chill OUT.

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