Did you know that texting and driving is now completely illegal in more than 30 states? All the more reason to pull the car over, get out, and head inside to your favorite wi-fi hot spot. Typically, the A/C is cool, the lattes are iced and the member reward discounts are frozen in time (meaning they never expire).
But while you take advantage of all these cool perks, ask yourself: What are you giving in return?
It may seem foreign to think about giving back to a place of business. After all, you are paying for at least some services and products. Right? But most of today’s wi-fi hot spots-just like their internet café predecessors-are hubs of the community. That’s because they’re typically coffee houses and eateries or other places of social gathering like malls; all the best places to surf, text, tweet and e-mail. While you decide where you most love to virtually exist, consider a little lesson in internet etiquette-manners to follow both online and in the real world that continues to surround you. Here are the Top 10 Wi-Fi Hot Spot No-Nos:
1. Sitting in the space without buying anything. It may be okay to wait for your colleague or compatriot to show up before you make your purchase, but don’t hold a table for hours on end without making a buy. The fact is, businesses can’t stay open without business. And if the place closes its doors, that’s one less local hot spot with free, easy, convenient connections.
2. Reading your neighbor’s computer screen. This should be obvious, but just like reading a book over the shoulder of your fellow commuter on the bus is déclassé, squinting to see his or her e-reader is just as bad-if not worse, since you must lean in closer.
3. Taking a picture of someone you don’t know without that person’s knowledge. Recently, a friend and I smirked at a fellow hot spot patron who’d fallen asleep with his good-old-fashioned-book in his lap. I stopped laughing, however, when another patron snapped his pic with her cell phone. She didn’t even have to tell me what she told me when he finally awakened, looked around to recall his whereabouts, then gathered his things and left: I’d already guessed that she’d “totally posted that to Facebook.” While this was mostly innocuous, the fact is, violating another’s ‘privacy’ in this way is simply forgetting human decency.
4. Misbehaving. Don’t act out (or you may end up in a picture for the whole wide World Wide Web)! We live in a world where cell phone cameras are everywhere-and Bella Thorne tits instant publishing to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and other sites happens with the press of a few buttons. Inadvertent falling asleep aside, if you wouldn’t want the world to see it, don’t do it-period. Public is a lot more public than it used to be.
5. Forwarding junk (read: offensive) messages. There are ways to ‘misbehave’ in the virtual world, too, and chief among these is forwarding any message that you know will outrage the people who receive it. Especially around election season, it’s key to remember that, if you’re going to forward something that may provoke in an intentional effort to sway another’s opinion, you’ll do best by at least attaching a personal message that takes the other’s perspective into consideration. Simply hitting “forward” connotes an impersonal disregard that is likely not your intent.