A Little Less Talk

A few weeks ago, I spent 24 hours without my cell phone. Not by choice, but due to my own clumsiness and a large body of water. Losing my primary means of communication was a disturbing experience. I have no landline telephone in my house. I hate sitting in front of my computer at home. One day is not a great span of time, but it felt like an eternity.

I readily admit I’m addicted to my mobile phone. I rely on my cell phone for texting, Internet and social media access, gaming, and occasionally, actual phone calls. I’m not alone. There are over 223 million mobile phone users in the United States alone. According to research from the Pew Research Center, Americans are using their mobile phones for much more than a conversation. The Nielsen 2010 Media Industry Fact Sheet (pdf) shows the number of mobile web users increased from 33% between 2008 and 2010. 18% of mobile phone users rely on smartphones, and over 1.56 trillion SMS messages were sent in 2010. In case you were wondering, the Nielsen Fact Sheet notes that Google Search, Yahoo! Mail, Gmail, Facebook and the Weather Channel are our favorite mobile web sites.

Has our reliance on technology changed the way we behave in public? Because of my excessive phone use, I have to constantly remind myself to mind my manners when it comes to my phone. I don’t want to be *that* person who annoys everyone within 20 feet of my conversation. Sometimes I slip, but I’ve become much more aware of my own habits thanks to everyone else’s bad behavior. My list of phone peeves is growing:

  • The person who talks too loudly in public and forces us to participate in their conversation
  • Inappropriate conversations should take place in appropriate places. Please keep your dirty laundry at home.
  • What about the person who is constantly emailing/texting during a face-to-face conversation? Are my words not as important as the words on your screen?
  • Ringtones should be banned. Express yourself with a pretty (and silent) wallpaper.
  • Have you ever watched an awkward one-sided conversation via Bluetooth headset? Are you talking to me, yourself or your imaginary friend?

If you have any questions about what’s acceptable cell phone use, check out this great article on the Microsoft Business site.

It seems our dependence on mobile technologies has grown significantly in the last few years. You can join in our discussion below and tell us what you think. Has the increased usage changed your public phone behavior? What are your biggest peeves when it comes to mobile devices? Other than phone calls, what applications do you use on your phone? How often do you use non-voice applications?


  1. Tonto
    Posted May 27, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    I have learned most of what I know from my mobile phone. In the desert, Kemo Sabe and I rarley came across internet cafe’s so we relied on our smart phones. Silver and Scout seemed to always keep us within tower range, must have been like the whales and dolphins knowing the location of the earths magnetics fields or something.

    Just like one of our well known creeds or moral codes:

    that a man should make the most of what equipment he has…

    Thank you to the mobile phone companies, it is a welcome change compared to smoke signals.

    Tonto out.

  2. Pam
    Posted June 2, 2011 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    My Pet Peeve: I can’t stand when the person you are talking to gets annoyed because there is a bad connection…like its your fault

  3. Jeff
    Posted June 2, 2011 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Stop driving and texting or not using a hands free device….it is my life out there too. I am sure the phone call is going to resolve the issues in the Middle East, Pakistan and India border disputes, or where Gadhafi is going to live….right! If it is that important, pull over and talk. If you wouldn’t want your kids to do it, then don’t do it yourself.

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