Prompt #4: Sociability

When Bell invented the telephone and marketed the idea that you can contact anyone from your own home people were amazed and confused. There was suddenly this new invention, a device attached to a cord that let you communicate with whoever you wanted. Bell advertised calling “dressmakers, florists, theaters, inns, rental agents, coal dealers, schools…” (Fischer, 39). At that point in time people did not know how to act on the phone. They bought into whatever phone companies told them. In the past people only communicated face-to-face or through writing so speaking into a telephone was a very new concept for them. They were taught how to act and what was socially acceptable.

In today’s world where almost everything is done over the phone in one-way or another (i.e. Texting, face timing, emailing, talking, etc.) people must learn how to change the way they speak depending on who they are talking to and the form of communication. You would talk completely differently on the phone if you were talking to your mom or if you were talking to your boss. In a way telephone ads teach us what is socially acceptable for different situations. In a commercial for a blackberry, for example, the “conversations” are very professional due to the fact that the phone is associated with businessmen and women. iPhones are marketed to all populations however each commercial shows different ways of using the phone. Some people are shown texting their friends in a very laid-back familiar tone, others are shown on conference calls, and others are shown face timing with family members. Each use of a phone depending on who is on the other end has a different set of “unspoken” rules and regulations on how one should act while using the device. Interactions over the phone are not only taught through advertisements. In our current time many parents upon giving their children a phone will teach them the right way to use it and how to act and interact with others via the device. Rules are set such as “no texting during dinner” or “always call when you arrive somewhere and when you leave”. These rules among others teach people how to interact using a telephone.

Phones are not the only situation in which people are taught how to interact with others. An example of a place where people are taught how to be social is in a school environment. Students are taught at an early age how to speak to teachers versus their parents versus their friends. TV shows also teach children this. They see how kids on TV act in public and how they act in school and understand the differences. Children are the most susceptible group of people. They can easily be taught and change their ways quickly based on what they are taught. Sociability has to be taught because in many situations people do not know how to act. Like with the original telephone people were taught how to act while using it just like children are taught at a young age how they should act in certain situations and environments.

One thought on “Prompt #4: Sociability

  1. I like the way you answered this topic by comparing the past examples of teaching sociability to the present day way to teach sociability. Through your comparison it is way easier for your reader to grasp the idea of teach proper manners and etiquette because they have multiple examples of such idea. I also like the way that you used not only people as sociability teaching tools, but also the phone companies and television as they have almost as much control over people as actual people. Comparing school children to the adults that just got in home telephones was a comparison that I never thought about initially, but after reading your blog it makes a lot of sense and I really like how it worked into your blog.


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