Thursday, April 21, 2011

"Mobile Misfits"

The surprise on the waiter's face when he walked up to our table, and suddenly, I popped up from under the tablecloth! OK, I was caught - and so embarrassed!  "But I thought it was nicer than talking at the table and I didn't know what to do!" I said. "It's a LOT better than what I usually see," he remarked with a smile.

So, yes, it's being talked about everywhere now - and I am guilty too.  It was in the NYT this past Sunday, it's discussed in
magazines, on the radio, on TV - "cell phone etiquette."

The computer chip company Intel coined the phrase "Mobile Misfits" in a Mobile Etiquette survey they did in 2009 and then again this year.  Seventy-five percent of the people surveyed said they see mobile technology manners becoming worse compared to a year ago.  And the survey showed, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that because of the growing amount of cool new mobile products being introduced every day, there needs to be an increased awareness of how mobile technology impacts our behavior and interaction with other people.

So, what ARE the mobile offenses and how do we avoid making them?  We know about the dangerous ones, but what about the inappropriate ones.  We all must help to make up the new rules/manners - and then follow them - as this technology burgeons - there was certainly nothing written about this in the old etiquette books.  Most importantly, just like all other manners, if you take OTHERS around you into consideration when using your mobile phone, you will do the right thing. Some examples:
  • Never talk to loudly - especially on airplanes, buses, trains, stores, etc, where the volume could be irritating to those around you.
  • Leave your ringer on vibrate in places where you must be quiet - make it a HABIT to turn the ringer off when you walk in to these places!
  • Don't ignore people you are with and take calls in the middle of a conversation.
  • Don't make repeated calls or check your email to pass the time - it can exasperate people around you!
  • Don't be oblivious to people around you and use offensive language when talking on the phone.
  • If you MUST take a call when you're with others, tell the caller to please hold on, excuse yourself, go to a private place where you won't disturb anyone, and take your call then. 
  • When on public sidewalks, PAY ATTENTION!  Find an out-of-the-way place to stand while you're texting so you're out of the way of others.

My advice?  Don't hide under the table like I did.  :)  I can't remember why, but I HAD to take that call.  Set the example and encourage your kids to practice good mobile manners too - let's not raise a generation of "mobile misfits," because really, our ultimate goal is to teach our kids how to be respectful and considerate of everyone around them.

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