It’s hard to imagine a time before smartphones, social media, and YouTube. If you’re a ’90s kid (or someone who fought tooth and nail to keep your existence cell phone-free before finally giving in), you may even remember a time when you had a landline and a phone that was attached to the wall. But the days of filling your book with bags for the train and having to go to the library to check email are over (for most of us), and the advent of smartphones has changed not only the way we communicate but the etiquette that comes with that communication.
A recent Pew study found that while many people are frustrated with the “always on” mentality that currently pervades our thinking, 89 percent of them also endorsed using their phones at social gatherings (verboten in the past), although in ways that could be considered pro-social (that means taking pictures and texting people about the event).
Here are some major differences in socially acceptable manners between the way we used to live in “the time before” (#nostalgia) and the way we live now thanks to cell phones, texting, and being able to access an entire Google worth of knowledge with just a few fumbled keystrokes with our fat thumbs on a touch screen.