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Friday, November 4, 2011

Impressions of Scotland: Social Without Media

One of the things that impressed me about Scotland wasn’t a castle or a loch or even the Highland scenery.  It is the absolute courtesy of the people in regards to their use of personal electronics.  

The short story is… they do not use them when they are around other people.   

If they get a call they must take, they give an apologetic to those around them and exit to a private spot to take the call.  They speak softly and the conversation is brief.  Any behavior other than this was met with strong disapproving looks at which the offender quickly remembered their manners.  I witnessed this over and over… on ferries, in pubs and restaurants, in stores, and on the street. 

When a group of people were visiting, not once did I see someone ignore the group and instead focus on the phone; talking or texting.  People were visiting WITH EACH OTHER.  I can’t recall the last time I was with a group of people ‘visiting’ that I wasn’t looking at the top of at least one person’s head during the evening as they instead talked with some person on the phone or were texting.  

It made me think about all the so-called “social media” here in the US.  People are becoming less and less “social” with those in their physical presence and instead are “social” with people behind an electronic wall.    

‘LOL’ will never replace the sound of a friend’s laugh.  

But yet it is…  

Himself and I have talked about it at length and have decided we are going to become more Scottish in our approach to personal electronics.  Except for emergencies or getting a quick bit of data needed immediately, we will not use personal electronics when we are in the company of family and friends.  We will focus on those we are with and will enjoy that time fully.  

Conversely, guests to our home will be asked to have the courtesy of turning off their “social media” and instead socialize with us. 

And when visiting others, we will excuse ourselves to go home once we find ourselves looking at the tops of heads…


  1. Hubby and I play a Scrabble-type game on our phones, sending words back and forth through cyberspace. There has been a time or two we've been sitting in a restaurant, staring at our phones instead of talking. When I catch myself doing that, I find it amusing, but after more than 30 years of marriage it doesn't seem that big of a deal :-)

  2. And there's nothing wrong with that Kathy, as you actally are interacting with the other person you're with.

    I was more talking about when there's a group of people who came together to visit... and then some stop visiting each other and instead ignore the group and chat into cyberspace.

    Also, after leaving Scotland and landing in Detroit it was rattling how LOUD Americans are when they talk on cell phones. My goodness... are American phones so cheap one must yell to be heard?


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