Cell Phone Madness

I had another topic that I was going to write about today, but I am going to skip that to talk about cell phone etiquette. I just came up in the elevator in my office building and had to listen to a gal in her 20s who was was projecting her voice into her cell phone like she was auditioning for a Broadway show. Not only that, but the topic was so intimate I was shocked she would discuss it in public. The young woman was talking to her mother about some female infection she had.

Quite frankly, I felt she had invaded my privacy. Elevator rides should be a “quiet zone” or at least a “whisper zone.” We are all in close quarters and do not need someone else screaming in our ears. I truly feel I am turning into Andy Rooney, cranky and intolerant. I know it is my age.

So while I was on this rage rant, I called up a few friends in the tech business and did some research on Mashable, the tech blog, to see if anyone else feels the way I do about “cell phone” madness. These are my results. The first few come from Mashable and the balance are from the business friends I contacted.

1. Avoid Sensitive Topics in Public
The person next to you at the airport really doesn’t want to hear about the ups-and-downs of your dating life, and revealing the details of that big business deal in the works could get you fired if it’s overheard by the wrong person. Either walk to a secluded location or let your caller know you’ll call back when it’s possible to talk in private.

2. You Don’t Have to Google Everything
Don’t be the person who whips out his or her phone to settle an argument by looking up a disputed fact on Google. While it’s nice to finally be able to settle barstool debates in real time, avoid the urge to look everything up on your phone.

3. Stop Pulling Out Your Phone at Social Events
Avoid making calls at the gym, or, better yet, leave your phone in your locker. The same goes for social gatherings, including the dinner table. Put your phone on silent and put it away for the duration of the meal. A note to my relatives and friends from Digidame: Even though I place my mobile phone on the table at a restaurant when dining with you, it doesn’t mean that you can accuse me of being rude. My business is all about constant editorial deadlines, so I quickly check my email twice during dinner to see if I have to answer some member of the press. I try to do this discretely. I would say that I rarely get urgent after-hours emails or calls, but it does happen. My job is to monitor urgent matters or deals that have to get done. I wish I could say the same thing for friends of mine who are constantly checking their emails for social reasons on my time.

4. Don’t Leave a Voicemail
This is a Mashable notation. News to me too! These days, no one likes receiving voicemails. The next time you can’t reach someone by phone, try the Gentleman’s Maneuver: Hang up before the beep and send a text instead. Chances are you’ll get a response more quickly.

5. No More Talking on the Toilet
Don’t take your phone into the bathroom. A recent survey of 1,000 iPhone users revealed that nearly 85% have used their phone while in the bathroom. Not only is this unsanitary and risky for your device, but it’s also off-putting to callers to hear a telltale echo or a sudden rush of water.

6. Stop Posting Pictures On Facebook While Power Walking With Friends
A friend of mine said she gets so frustrated when she gets into a power zone only to get interrupted by a friend who just happened to see something he has to take a picture of. Not only does he stop to take the photo, but then he immediately posts it on Facebook. This action ruins the entire purpose of power walking with friends. I can think of friends who do that constantly when in a group just strolling along. Several of us have to stop and wait for the person who is a block behind us.

7. Do Not Talk To Friends While In The Company Of Other Friends
This complaint comes from a Chicago buddy who says that every time one of his pals picks him up in his car so they can ride together, he is usually engaged in a conversation. He has to sit there quietly alone until that person gets off the phone. He said he wanted to take his own car in the first place, but the friend insisted they ride together. What was the point?

8.Do Not Walk Away From Your Cell Phone
This pet peeve was told to me this morning by one of my clients. He hates when people visit his office or country home and they leave their cell phone on his desk or kitchen table when they go to the bathroom, go outside, or go talk to someone else in the vicinity. He finds himself constantly being interrupted by the other person’s phone ringing no less than eight times before voice mail goes into action. He feels like it is such an intrusion on his privacy.

If you have any other pointers be sure to leave them in the comment section. We are all in this together and none of us are innocent.

4 thoughts on “Cell Phone Madness

  1. Museums and gardens. I’m a lover of art and gardens. I’ve been on docent-led tours when a cellphone rang and someone began a long conversation and strolled along with the tour having their conversation. If you need to take the call, fine – but you don’t have to be rude to the docent and the others in the tour. How selfish! But even beyond the tours, shut off the phone. There just is not a situation where the importance of your call justifies interrupting everyone else.

  2. I have been guilty of most of these things (except the bathroom issue) and then I turn around and get annoyed when others do the same things. I’m going to make an effort to be less connected to my phone when I’m around friends. I was not aware of the anti-voicemail rule. If I had been paying closer attention to my teenagers, I would have realized that VMs are passe.

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