My law firm opened in 1974 with all the technology that was standard at the time—telephones, typewriters, and fax machines. Today, we have thin, powerful laptops, virtual fax numbers, and top of the line smartphones that facilitate how we do our jobs.
It’s a huge improvement. Or is it?
When I leave the office, I’m often checking emails on my phone. It’s great that I can send an immediate response at any given time, but there’s more room for typos, incomplete messages, or for our tone to be misunderstood in “on-the-fly” responses. Following up to fix a mistake or clarify intent ruins the efficiency of the communication.
People also think they can get away with rude, demeaning, or passive aggressive comments while hiding behind the technology. Would people actually speak to one another like that in person? I’d like to think not.
Practically speaking, if we’re responding immediately to every email, text, tweet, snap, or other social media post, when will we have the time to unplug and unwind? Without a digital break and face time with family and friends, I fear we’ll wind up being constantly stressed and interact with less civility than we should.
Unfortunately, incivility seems especially rampant in our community associations. That’s why CAI’s College of Community Association Lawyers developed a civility commitment to encourage residents, board and committee members, community managers, staff, and business partners to be respectful.
This year, I’m going to rethink my communications. Instead of immediately responding to an email, I’m going to determine whether it would be better to pick up the phone. I’m going to increase my “real” interactions with friends, clients, and colleagues, and talk to them in person.
I’d like to encourage all of you to do the same. And, let’s be more mindful to engage with others, regardless of the format, with respect and civility. I think we will all find those efforts to be productive and rewarding.
>>The Community Association Civility Pledge encourages community associations to have respectful and meaningful interactions despite differences of opinion on a particular issue, and to create an environment where residents have the opportunity to express their views openly. Download and adopt the pledge now.
I love this pledge, and would like to implement it at our HOA. I think it goes a long way toward creating a sense of community. However, 80+% of the units here are rentals, and as you’d guess we don’t have heavy owner involvement.
I know we’re somewhat of an oddity compared to most HOAs.
What I’d like to have is a variation of this that is more specific to residents, not owners. For example, tenants are not allowed at board meetings, so that paragraph would not apply to most here. But we’d love to have more involvement from tenants in things like neighborhood clean-up, neighborhood watch, etc.
I’d like permission to edit our own version of this to accommodate our unique circumstances.
We’ve become so addicted to gadgets that we don’t notice it. It’s like a monotonous background hum, the existence of which you can only guess when it disappears. When it turns off – not earlier – you understand how much noise prevented you from concentrating. Do gadgets and the internet bother you personally? Turn off their noise to figure it out. We receive and process much more information than people in the pre-Internet era, but the quality and depth of this processing is reduced. It is wild to hear from adults and clever people in response to the recommendation of an article or book: “Laziness, too many letters.” Gadgets change not only the search algorithms, information but also its production, the nature of social relations.