Daniel House


Selfies and Social Media in the Company of Others

Our Dear Friends,


           Emily Post’s original chapter on good behavior in public places provides a lot of very helpful information for the modern lady or gentlemen, including all sorts of instructions on where to sit at the opera, and when to take off one’s collapsible top hat. However, Post was somewhat remiss in making any suggestion on what emerging ladies and gentlemen ought to do with their cell phones while out on the town. This was a truly careless oversight on her part, but we’re here to rectify the omission.

            In a brief segment titled “Proper Theatre Clothes,” Post spends rather more time lamenting young women’s preoccupation with the reflection in their compacts than she does on theatre recommendations. At the ages of 28 and 25 respectively, we could count the number of times we’ve seen a woman glance at a compact on our combined digits, but checking themselves in their cellphone is another matter entirely. And the problem extends to the male population as well.
            Not only is this practice of using one’s phone as a compact equally unbecoming as its earlier form, but quite a bit worse, since it’s difficult for present company to know whether one has also taken the opportunity to retreat into the world going on inside his or her device. It exposes insecurities without admitting them and alienates friends as they wonder if their time and kinship is valued. Post said, the well-bred of 1922 would have dressed and made themselves up as beautifully as they could before leaving their private rooms, then never have glanced at themselves again until they returned to the solitude of their room once more.

           We’re not here to suggest one never look in a mirror to adjust his tie or check for remnants of a meal in her teeth, but we do hope people might at least consider Post’s old stance.  In this world that so greatly values confidence, we believe one of the best demonstrations of the attribute is to be comfortable with one’s appearance and present in other’s company.  Next time you take your phone out at the dinner table, skip your own reflection and include all your company in your Snapchat. Social media is just that, after all – the opportunity to be more social rather than less. Being more social has quite a lot less to do with the quantity of people with whom you interact than it does the quality of those interactions. 





Peter and Alexander