Nick Bilton

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at

In a meeting on Wednesday, my phone started vibrating so much I feared it was having a seizure. When I managed to sneak a glance its way, I found out the cause: I’d been “group text message”-bombed. In a recent tirade about messaging etiquette in the modern age, Nick Bilton of the New York Times complained about people who leave voice mails instead of sending texts, people who ask for directions rather than consulting Google Maps and people who waste his time by prolonging e-communication by sending needless "thank yous." In the era of information overload, people need to be

When I called Nick Bilton—after an initial email exchange—I didn’t reach him right away. One thing was certain: I was not about to leave a voice mail message. After all, that was the topic of my call—the huge reader response to his Disruptions column in which he wrote about the etiquette of communicating in the totally wired era. Voice mail is something to be avoided at all costs. Bilton started his column with this: Some people are so rude. Really, who sends an email or text message that just says “Thank you”? Who leaves a voice mail message when you

“Did we do anything wrong?”

Anyone that asks that question is probably guilty.

The most egregious lede I have ever seen in 60 years of reading The New York Times:
My wife and I sat cross-legged on the floor of a local Barnes & Noble store recently, surrounded by several large piles of books. We were searching for interior design ideas for a new home that we are planning to buy.

As we lobbed the books back and forth, sharing kitchen layouts and hardwood floor textures, we snapped a dozen pictures of book pages with our iPhones. We wanted to share them later with our contractor.

After a couple of hours of this, we placed the books back on the shelf and went home, without buying a thing. But the digital images came home with us in our smartphones.

Later that evening, I felt a few pangs of guilt. I asked my wife: Did we do anything wrong? And, I wondered, had we broken any laws by photographing those pages?

It's not as if we had destroyed anything: We didn't rip out any pages. But if we had wheeled a copier machine into the store, you can be sure the management would have soon wheeled us and the machine out of there.

But our smartphones really functioned as hand-held copiers. Did we indeed go too far?

Yes, you and your wife went too far.

And your tacky little iPhones’ theft of copyright wasn’t the half of it.

More Blogs