Recent figures from a survey show that increasing numbers prefer to hold a conversation electronically rather than face-to-face, regardless of how socially unacceptable this may appear to others. Some even prefer to chat with online followers who they may never have met in real life than talk to a partner, relative or friend in the flesh.

Hardly surprising considering how many of us are fixed to a smartphone 24/7, the research carried out by Socked suggests traditional activities such as dinner parties are dying out as electronic identities take over. “Social media and the Internet are important,” said Mark Hall, Gentleman Creation Officer at Socked, “but it shouldn’t be at the expense of real-life relationships.

“Put a phone in somebody’s hand these days, and their behaviour around other people disappears down the drain. It’s almost as if the world around them doesn’t exist. The figures are shocking.”

  • 80% admitted to playing on their smartphone or Internet tablet during dinner
  • 76% sit in silence with their partners most evenings while browsing the web
  • 84% said they got angry when they were interrupted while using a smartphone or tablet
  • 98% said they had never held a dinner party
  • 82% said they hadn’t read a book in over a year.

Hall said: “Our plan is to get gentlemen acting like gentlemen again. Even simple social niceties such as acknowledging those around you have disappeared under an avalanche of text speak, Facebook pokes and hashtag games. When somebody says ‘LOL’ in real life, you know we need to change.

“There’s a time to play with your phone, and a time to switch it off. Just for once, go out and have an actual conversation. The results will amaze you.”

Plugging his sock emporium, Hall said his company offers not only a fine mail-order sock subscription service, but all the hints and tips a gentleman might need to dress and act acceptably. From how to choose the right tie to how to escape a rampaging polar bear. Tell me, aren’t socks a conversation killer?