Modern Etiquette: The pitfalls of social media

Mon Jun 13, 2011 11:17am EDT
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(Pamela Eyring is president and director of The Protocol School of Washington, which provides certified professional etiquette and protocol training. The opinions expressed are her own. PSOW's website is

By Pamela Eyring

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - I recently spent eight days in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) conducting training under the patronage of The Protocol Department - Dubai.

One of the most striking things about the experience was the abundance of Blackberries, iPhones, and other digital devices seemingly in the hands of the entire populace.

I even noticed when I met with one of the UAE Rulers that he carries his iPhone like a warrior with a weapon.

I also noticed that in the UAE, protocol dictates stashing your digital device during face-to-face conversations and when making large, and small, business presentations - it's considered rude and shows disinterest to do otherwise.

Yet, when I travel in the U.S. and to other countries (for business and pleasure), mobile devices stay firmly in-hand, not just for checking email or headlines but to visit social networking sites.

It's important when courting international partners to realize that potential allies will surf the net for every nugget of information they can find on you and your company.

According to Twitter, more than 60 percent of users are from outside the U.S., while more than 70 percent of Facebook users reside outside the U.S. Both companies are incorporating more languages to help boost usage in low-growth regions.   Continued...

<p>A journalist uses the an application on a mobile phone in London in this January 31, 2011 file photo. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett</p>