I Sleep At Night

Mark Canes

Can you spot the connection? I woke early this morning and, while wolfing down a little breakfast, read this newspaper article about people sleeping in reach of their Smartphone. Then I rushed to the office for a very early scheduled meeting. While waiting for the other party to arrive, I checked my email. Turns out he'd sent a cancellation email last night around 11:20 PM. Now I had in fact checked email around 11, just before heading off to bed.

So what’s the connection? Firstly, let me be clear: it’s extremely rude and quite unprofessional to cancel an early morning meeting late the night before, by email, and assume the other party will have read the email before they rise early and rush into the office. However, as noted in the article, many people have become conditioned to receiving email via their Smartphones 24/7. I suspect that in this instance, it simply did not occur to the other guy that anyone would not receive his email in real time. That's no excuse, but it may be the explanation.

Many have written at length about the conflict between common courtesy, and the addiction to cell phones and particularly Smartphones. I know and work with many people who are devoted to their iPhone or Blackberry, yet still interact with others respectfully and with impeccable manners. Sadly, though, I do encounter a few of the other type of "addict".

I’ll just add this cautionary note to those who cannot bear the thought of missing an email or a text message in the middle of the night, and seem to increasingly assume that everyone else is the same: some of us actually sleep at night.