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Technology disrupts manners

We are firmly cocooned in our digital bubbles. Technological advances can be a wonderful thing, but they should not replace basic human contact and interaction or even awareness of our surroundings.
I enjoy my Blackberry, iTunes and wireless connections just as much as the next person, but wrapping yourself up wirelessly and ignoring the people around you isn’t the best idea. People skills are just as important as technical skills in life as well as the job market. But your smartphone can’t teach you people skills. Only interacting with people can.
Every time I’m on campus, I see students letting doors shut in each other’s faces, almost running into each other on the Pedestrian Mall and crossing in front of cars without looking first. Some of these situations are simply rude, others are dangerous. Ignoring other people isn’t dangerous all the time, but it can affect you in other ways. Don’t you feel better when you’re smiling or when someone says “thank you” for something you did?
What happened to the days when people were aware of and nice to each other without having ulterior motives? Being nice doesn’t necessarily mean being a doormat. It just means being courteous. Plus, it doesn’t cost you anything. (The real bonus is that it’s catching.) Wouldn’t you want to be around courteous people?
There are little moments every day when you can be nice – say “bless you” or “gesundheit” when someone sneezes. Take a moment to hold a door open for someone whose hands are full. It only takes a couple of seconds to let someone know you noticed them.
I want to challenge each and every one of you to say hello to, or at least smile at, three people you never have before. Then enjoy the smiles you get in return. Try spreading a little happy around. If you really want to challenge yourself, strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know. Share a bench with someone, or introduce yourself to a classmate.
This campus is full of interesting people. Get to know each other.

This editorial was written by Jessica Green (jegreen@valdosta.edu) and it expresses the opinion of the entire editorial staff.

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