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mobile phone etiquette

Paul Dwerryhouse blogs about mobile phone etiquette.

  1. Taking excessive calls at a restaurant is annoying, but keep them short and it’s no big deal.
  2. Strange ring tones are OK as long as people answer their phone. It’s when they decide that they don’t want to answer a call that the entire Avril Lavigne song annoys people. In regard to this issue wearing headphones in public with the volume turned up high enough that everyone else can hear is a much worse problem – which will incidentally deafen the person using the headphones in the long-term as well as annoying everyone else in the short-term.
  3. I used to work with Paul and we had a colleague who repeatedly chose not to answer his mobile phone because he didn’t want to talk to a particular recruiting agent but refused to say so. Eventually the agent tried calling the office and got to me, I told him “if someone never answers their mobile phone when you call it means that they don’t like you, take a hint and stop calling”. There were fewer unanswered calls after that.
  4. I have to agree with that, having a phone call in the cinema (or even worse the theatre) is just wrong. If you are on the list for organ transplant (the only time you really MUST have your phone on all the time) then turn the phone to vibrate mode.
  5. When on the train the range of things that I can do is limited. Rather than waste time I make calls that I don’t have time to make on other occasions. The only exception is when I was in Japan, in respect of their cultural standards I turned my phone off most times when on the train.
  6. Walking and talking? Unless you are crossing a busy street then why not? People who inappropriately use mobile phones while performing dangerous activities will tend to be weeded out by Darwin. They usually don’t give Darwin Awards for mundane things such as not seeing an oncoming truck while talking on a mobile phone.
  7. In regard to the issue of whether you have to answer a phone, some people believe that it’s an issue of courtesy to the person who is calling to answer the phone if reasonably possible.
  8. Whether “call me back” is adequate depends on who is calling. I generally find that when someone leaves such a message they have been correct in their assessment of the value of their call to me. The people who leave such messages are generally the people who’s call I will return on the basis of such a message. Leaving a long voicemail message adds to the profits of the telco used to making the call as well as the telco that maintains the voice-mail box. My 3 voicemail service charges me to receive the messages and I prefer them to be kept short.
  9. Anyone who thinks that having a fancy phone, car, computer, etc will make them a better person or impress anyone has bigger problems than the choice of a phone. Also if the $600 a year that you might spend on regularly updating your mobile phone makes a significant difference to your savings then you will probably never be able to afford a house either.
  10. Bluetooth headsets do make you look like an idiot, but they do have some benefits. When doing tech-support it is a real benefit to be able to use both hands for typing. The only reason I don’t have one is that I don’t do tech support enough to justify the expense of buying one or the inconvenience of carrying it everywhere. Note that when you define “tech support” in the most broad sense (which includes helping all your relatives with their computer problems) most computer people do quite a lot of it even if it’s not their job.

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