Thursday, May 31, 2012

My Unofficial Rules For Cell Phone Etiquette

For me face-to-face interaction is paramount. So what I mean by that is that the cell goes on 'silent' when I'm in a meeting or group or working or on down time. Sure if there's an urgent call I might excuse myself and take it (and have the courtesy to explain to those with me that I am expecting an urgent call that I have to take) .... however that said there is this amazing software called 'voicemail' that will take a message so that's always first option!

Have a friend who says "I don't respond to bells and whistles' I cracked up when I first heard them say it - boy it's great advice though!

I cringe when I see ads parodying families/people who sit in the same room and text each other instead of talking and/or ignore each other and text the rest of the world. When the 'communication' gets in the way of actual communication we've gone too far I think.

Another rule for myself is to try (and it can be a challenge) to only use text/mobile for admin stuff and not try to do relational stuff in this away - because it's very easy to ramp up our 'avoidant' tendencies using this kind of technology. I continue to get feedback from all kinds of people about the negative impacts that this way of operating have on relationships, on both sides.

Had a colleague once who had a great saying (it was about email but applies too all this stuff I think) "Never intonate tone into email" - so this means don't try to read expression or meaning into the written word or text - a recipe for disaster in my experience. Even the way close friends write seems to have little bearing on how they actually are in person - so if I'm not sure I check out what they meant in person or on the phone. If in doubt I assume the best and continue to do so until proved otherwise!

And really, seriously, I personally believe urgent calls are not that common - i.e. a sick relative/friend, a booking that is time sensitive or someone needing support where I need to do this (i.e. if I'm a Mum or Dad or authority figure) and/or have agreed prior to hold this role. Amazing how often cells are used to make ourselves look important, or not fully engage with those around us.

Also another personal rule is KEEP THAT CELL OFF YOUR BODY, even the cell company fine print states how dangerous bodily contact is 'and yet' there are all kinds of devices that encourage this practice. This stuff is dangerous, if you love people/yourself remember that there is danger to this tech - it's not an extra limb ;-) ... if you ever get a chance talk to anyone who spends a lot of time around cancer and see what they think about this stuff - you might be surprised!

In all of this my other main rules are to make best use of this tech whilst remembering that everyone is different so I expect to be disappointed because there are no hard and fast rules really except maybe that CAPS is shouting and that I'm not sure if WTF really means 'Why the Face' LOL ;-)

If I don't know what someone is meaning then I ask - almost always I've just misunderstood anyway...and finally...think before I send!!

I like this quote:

“DNA is DNA, whether in mice or people. And mouse DNA is about the same size as human DNA. But humans are much taller antennas. When you hold a cell phone against your head, you are absorbing four to ten times more energy than those now-forgetful mice.” - electronics columnist Stewart Fist

Mobile and cellular telephonic and data devices have been around for a while now. Each of these devices show significant social impact on how and where we communicate using what used to be called a telephone .... as well as how that communication effects the real space we use those devices in/at. Including both the environment and people in immediate proximity to the conversation/interaction/mobile use.

What are your personal rules regarding mobile etiquette? And what do you consider to be the established unofficial expectations and rules around how, why, and where we use our mobile communications systems?

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