Cell Phones are everywhere; nearly all of us have one. In fact during an earlier post on wordless Thursday, we did manage to look at the overall numbers of cell phones and usage statistics which were quite shocking. So, it is absolutely great right, everyone has a cell phone, loved ones are closer? Yes it is. But like everything good in this world when it comes to technology, there is a dark side. Cell phone etiquette.
People somehow do not really seem to know when is it acceptable and not acceptable to use a cell phone. Although I know some of you might think that it’s a free world and there are no written rules for cell phone usage, I still believe that some people should have. Mind you I am not talking about life safety here, like talking on the phone while driving, or using your phone during your wedding anniversary (ask me, it is life threatening), but generally using the phone, the when, where and how. Good cell phone etiquette involves following some simple guidelines of common courtesy when using a cell phone in public, designed to make those spaces enjoyable to all.
All of us have been annoyed by the guys who talk like their voice would reach the other person even without the phone, the guys who think that technology is still in the late 80’s where we had to scream into the mouthpiece of a wired phone, inside a booth lovingly also known as the Standard Trunk Dial Booth (STD). Yes, we are told the issues that they have even if we don’t really want to hear about it. Be it Private conversations, arguments of details of meetings or even what they just are, things that don’t really want to know. Add to this inappropriate ringtones in places where they are not to be used.
People these days put up sign boards for people not to use their cell phones in certain places, like places of worship, government offices, meetings etc. But you do have the regular rings from the careless people. So people have actually got fed up and have started installing cell phone jammers in these places. These devices knock cell phone users off their lines and prevent a reconnection with the cell tower until the user wanders out of range. The rate at which jammers are selling speaks to the lack of manners among the chatters. If you’re wondering what you can do to contribute to a more polite society, cell phone etiquette can be boiled down to 7 simple guidelines according to me:
1. When a Private Conversation Isn’t Possible. Intimate public settings such as restaurants, public restrooms, waiting rooms, hallways, buses, subways or anywhere a private conversation is not possible is a bad place for a cell phone conversation. To practice good cell phone etiquette, put the ringer on vibrate or silent mode and let the call roll over to voice mail. If it’s an important call, step outside or to a secluded area to return the call. If that’s not possible and you must take the call, keep your voice low and the conversation brief. Let the caller know you’ll get back to them when you’re able.
2. Lights Out, Phone Off. Phones should be turned off in movie theaters, playhouses, observatories or any other public place that creates an atmosphere to transport the imagination of the audience. People pay good money to be entertained and a ringer breaks the illusion.
3. Modulate Your Voice. Cell phones have sensitive microphones that can pick up a very soft voice while blocking out ambient noise. Yelling into a cell phone is not necessary. When people are nearby, be considerate and keep your voice low, your tone unemotional and even, and your conversation private. Arguing or airing dirty laundry in public is very poor human behavior let alone cell phone etiquette.
4. Observe the 10-foot Proximity Rule. Maintain a distance of at least 10-feet (3 meters) from the nearest person when talking on a cell phone. No matter how quietly you speak, if standing too close to others they are forced to overhear your personal business.
5. Love the One you’re with. It’s rude to take a cell phone call on a date or during a social engagement with others. It’s also inconsiderate to take a call in the middle of a conversation. If the caller were present he or she would likely wait to politely interrupt at a more appropriate time. Let the call roll to voice mail and return it later.
6. Drive Now, Talk Later. Multitasking isn’t always a good thing. Some evidence shows that accidents are on the rise due to cell phone use. Most calls can wait until you’ve reached your destination, and if a call is upsetting or distracting pull over to have the conversation.
7. Use Common Sense. Turn off your phone before a job interview, presentation, or boardroom meeting. Leave it off at funerals, weddings, or anyplace a quiet atmosphere is mandated, such as a courthouse, library, museum, or place of worship.
Cell phone etiquette is just a matter of being considerate of others, which pays off for everyone; sooner or later.