I don’t like mobile phones. It really hit home last weekend when I went for a long walk up Sydney Rd, and whilst standing at the Glenlyon Rd intersection, I had two people converge on me from different directions, both yammering away with their phones glued to their ears. Even the sound of the traffic was preferable to that of two inane phone conversations at once.
Unless I’m on-call, I generally have my phone on silent … if I even have it with me at all. So, at the risk of turning the weblog into an online version of Grumpy Old Men, here is my guide to Mobile Phone Etiquette.
- In a restaurant, your phone should be turned off, or if absolutely necessary, on silent with vibrate on, to alert you of messages. You should not take calls at the table, nor should you conduct SMS conversations with remote parties… it’s really not that entertaining for other guests to be watching someone type on their phone.
- Use an inoffensive ringtone, preferably one that actually sounds like a phone ringing. You might find it hard to believe, but that 10 second grab of Avril Levigne on a tinny phone speaker isn’t doing anything for your musical cred.
- Don’t walk away from your desk and leave your phone behind. I’ve worked in an office where this, combined with an incredibly annoying ringtone, had one co-worker threatening to flush another’s phone down the toilet.
- Enter cinema, phone goes off. No excuses. If you’re on-call, you shouldn’t be in the cinema anyway.
- Public transport: keep it quiet, and keep it short. The rest of us already know that you’re on the train and that you’ll be home in twenty minutes. I think the Chaser guys summed it up rather well.
- Don’t walk and talk, it results in you being oblivious to what is going on around you, and annoying people who are walking behind you. If your phone rings and you’re on a thoroughfare, duck down a side street.
- You don’t have to answer it. I’ve never understood those people who are so desperate for any sort of communication that they’d climb a mountain in twenty seconds to answer a ringing phone. If it’s important, then the caller will leave a message.
- Voicemail: If it’s important enough for you to leave a message, then say what you want. “Call me back” isn’t enough information for me to determine whether it’s worth adding to Telstra’s profits.
- Mobile phones are not a fashion accessory. You don’t need to buy a new one every year, and the money you spend on them could go towards a deposit for the house that your generation is whinging they can’t afford.
- Bluetooth headsets: yes, they do make you look like an idiot.