The Conversation

Do You Miss Manners?

An interesting read in the New York Times' Style section today about people taking to YouTube to educate Generation Y about etiquette in the digital age.

Are manners dead? Cellphones, Twitter and Facebook may be killing off the old civilities and good graces, but a new generation of etiquette gurus, good-manner bloggers and self-appointed YouTube arbiters is rising to make old-fashioned protocols relevant to a new generation.

Their apparent goal: to help members of Generation Y navigate thorny, tech-age minefields like Paperless Post invites, same-sex weddings and online dating — not to mention actual face-to-face contact with people they encounter in the offline world.

For years I've been on a quest to bring back written Thank You notes and end e-vites for baby showers, bridal showers and other momentous occasions.  How is that I'm already an old fuddy-duddy?  (I suspect the answer lies in the fact that I just used the word "fuddy-duddy.")

Or maybe I'm just ahead of the curve?

Young people “are getting sick of the irony, rudeness and snark that is so prevalent in their online lives,” said Jane Pratt, the editor in chief of xoJane, a women’s lifestyle site where etiquette posts are a popular feature. “The return of etiquette is in part a response to the harshness of the interactions they are having in the digital sphere.”       

“Nice is very cool right now,” she added.

One of my favorite etiquette writers was Letitia Baldridge.  I was able to meet her several times and just adore her good-humored take on proper etiquette.  She was the social secretary for First Lady Jackie Kennedy, secretary for Ambassador Clare Boothe Luce in Italy, and director of public relations for Tiffany & Co.  I  recommend her biography, A Lady First. An amazing woman!


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