How technology might contribute to being late

A writer at the Wall Street Journal argues that technology has contributed to more people being willing to be late to appointments:

Now, thanks to cellphones, BlackBerrys and other gadgets, too many of us have become blasé about being late. We have so many ways to relay a message that we’re going to be tardy that we no longer feel guilty about it.

And lateness is contagious. Once one person is tardy, others feel they can be late as well. It becomes beneficial to be the last one in a group to show up, because your wait will be the shortest.

The writer admits that lateness is not caused by technology since lateness has existed for a long time. Yet at the same time, I can see how this might work: because the late person is still able to maintain contact with the person who is waiting for them, the late person could feel that it is less of a problem that they are late. After all, at least they let the other person they were going to be late.

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