Now even mainstream journalists are picking up the no handshake banner and running with it. Neil Swidey, writing for the Boston Globe, says “Last month, swine flu officially became a pandemic. Public health officials have said so-called “social distancing” strategies — sharply reducing contact with others — have proved most effective in slowing the spread of previous outbreaks, such as the 1918 flu pandemic. And they told us to cut down on our handshakes as much as we could. Northeastern University heeded the advice, asking its graduates not to shake hands when receiving their diplomas during the school’s commencement ceremony in May.”
Swidley also points to Brad Feld’s promise earlier this year to end handshakes, and asked Feld how that was going. Feld said “My campaign was a total failure. I found that I was having the same conversation over and over, explaining why I wasn’t shaking hands. I got tired of it and decided it was easier to just shake everyone’s hands and then wash mine a bunch throughout the day.”
I obviously agree that handshakes need to go. My first post on handshakes was in May, and after I noted that some startups and venture capitalists were trying to end the barbaric practice at board meetings. I piped up again on National Handshake Day.
Like Feld, I too have mostly given up on this. People just get pissed when you don’t shake their hand. But 30% or so of people I meet with know how I feel about it and offer a friendly fist bump. The best moments I have are when people say how much they love TechCrunch and read it every day, and then stick out their sweaty palm to shake hands. They obviously were just being polite about reading this blog. I shake their hand with a smile, and remember to wash my hands at the next opportunity.