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?