Monday, January 08, 2007

The E-Tool Bill of Rights

I think it is high time we claim our freedom from electronic distractions and devices. Just because electronic devices make access to someone easy, it does not follow that access should be unlimited. I can definitely get behind some of these rights. The italics are my comments. Here are some items from the E-Tool Bill of Rights.

  • "Article 1: There shall be no assumption of unlimited e-access simply because the tools allow it. Excessive messaging shall be considered electronic littering." Enough already, and this goes to certain people, who shall remain nameless, with a bad habit of spamming my office inbox with every inane announcement from publishers or vendors at all times of the day.
  • "Article 2: The right of the people to be secure from unwarranted electronic work intrusions at home shall not be violated. Nights and weekends shall be considered unplugged zones." Absolutely. In fact, we screen calls at home with the answering machine as well. On weekend evenings, phone is taken off the hook until late in the morning. We both work long hours in the week, and the last thing we want is some dumbass telemarketer waking us up (known to happen). As for work, I leave work at the workplace. Once I walk out of the library on Friday, I forget about it until next Monday. Pure and simple. I did the taking work home bullshit when I was a school teacher, and those days are over. Weekends are our family time. Work will still be there after the weekend.
  • "Article 5: The time of the people shall be respected. Therefore, book-length thread emails, short acknowledgment notes ("Got it," etc.), and lame chain jokes shall not be allowed." For sure. To you out there who need to get your "I got it" note, or to send me some lame joke, stop it. I appreciate humor as much as the next guy, but I have a separate personal e-mail for the snark and humor. Learn to use that one, and it better be funny if I am bothering to read it. On a corollary, if you are one of those people who reads one article too many and feel a need to hit the forward button, think whether invading my inbox with it is really worth it, or you are just sending another fad thing you think is cute.
  • "Article 7: The people are not on vacation if they are still in contact with the office. There shall be no requirement while on holiday to carry pagers, or check email or voice mail." This one is a personal peeve of mine: people who have no idea how to unplug. Hey, get a clue: vacation is the time to relax and get away. Leave the goddamn laptop, crackberry, and cellphone back at home. If you have to carry the cell, it's for emergencies, and no, work, no matter the issue, does not count as an emergency during vacation. Place burn down? Sounds like you have a few extra vacation days to me. Learn to unplug. Your physical and mental health will thank you for it. And no, I don't care for you showing off your techno prowess because you carry two or more devices on vacation. Unlike you, my self-esteem is secure enough I can unplug.

Some of the other articles in this bill may be open to discussion, but that is part of the process.

A hat tip to the 43 Folders blog.


walt c said...

Excellent post and perfect timing (I'm just working on a "Balanced Librarian" essay for the next C&I, also a possible book chapter, on these and related issues). I would also disagree with some of the (other) items among the ten, but that's to be expected. I'll keep this under two paragraphs...

Angel, librarian and educator said...

Hey Walt, thanks for stopping by. Like you, I did not agree with everything on the list, but I hope as people read it, they talk about it. For me, the knowing when to unplug is a big one. Now that I know you will be writing that essay, I am looking forward to it. Best, and keep on blogging