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Craig Kerstiens

Changing etiquette?

A recent conversation of someone that was offended when the were introduced to someone new, then was not greeted first since they were a female brought what follows to mind. The above is a train of thought that came from a 70 year old military wife. I do not believe this is common practice today and is quite rarely found as the common etiquette, but nonetheless I think what is proper etiquette in business is changing quite rapidly. Though I’m not sure if all of the older ideas and principles have gone away.

I take as a first example zuckerburg, whom is a notoriously difficult interview. Not because he keeps things hidden, or is sealed tight about the company, but rather that his soft skills are not his strength. His strength is building a web product that millions of people find worthwhile to divulge hours of their day into it.

Even two years ago when you were disgruntled with a company you may have gotten a few drinks in you and talked to a friend about your displeasure. But it certainly was not made fully public for anyone to see. At best you could only hope you were simply privy to things that would be brought to the publics eye from a larger misdoing either legally or that a mass-crowd found a problem with. But for simply being overworked, underpaid, or in some other odd way mistreated there was no politically correct outlet to speak through.

However in the past years it has become extremely common for those that are still employed, or were employed to voice their complaints and bring to light the details that were once hidden. I think of Zed Shaw’s rant on rails which calls out specific companies, or an older blog the diary of a mac genius, who gave detailed behind the scenes information of an apple customer support genius bar. While I’ll concede for the mass majority if it’s published it’s doesn’t mean its consumed, so it’s not a dramatic effect on any single business, I still find it hard to believe that this overall shift of users freely publishing is not going to be able to be stopped by companies. As we approach web 3.0 and have a better ability to pull in a larger base of information that’s more relevant this information may become more and more helpful to users.

Regardless of the effects, it seems the standard procedures for what is proper etiquette are changing. Whether its talking about your place of employment, or HR checking out you’re facebook profile to see if you’d be a risk for the company, the lines are being blurred from both sides and the barriers that once existed are now being torn down.