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10 Tips To Be A More Courteous Cell Phone User

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I honestly believe the smart phone is one of mankind’s most amazing achievements. For many of us, our smart phone has become an “Exo-brain”–external mind–that keeps track of our schedules, finances, social interaction, business, and just about every other facet of our lives. But with the proliferation of smart phones and ways to use them, people are becoming increasingly confused about setting boundaries. Here are ten tips that will help all of us become more courteous smart phone users.

This is basically Smart Phone Etiquette 101. What is etiquette, anyway? It’s basically a set of rules we all agree to follow in order to be considerate toward others. We follow them as our contribution to the kind of society we want to live in.

10 Tips To Be A More Courteous Cell Phone User

1. Lower your voice when making calls in public

We don’t want to hear about the procedure you had done, or the shot contest at the bar the other night. Most smart phones have incredibly sensitive mics built in, so there’s no reason to yell, or even talk loudly while in public places.

2. Lower your smart phones volume while in public

Since smart phones have a vibrate feature to alert you to calls or messages, there’s no reason to keep your volume cranked up. This includes: restaurant, movie theater, doctor’s office, and business. DO NOT leave your ringer on high, leave your phone on your desk, and then walk away. We do not think your ringtone is as cute or funny as you do. Please, turn your smart phone down or to silent when in public places.

3. Choose ringtones you won’t regret

You were pretty proud of yourself when you found that spoof of the Right Said Fred song that proudly proclaimed “I’m too sexy for this call, too sexy for this call, so sexy it hurts…” and then in played at work and people have never looked at you the same. Save your hit song for the weekends and use a standard ringer at work.

4. Hang up and drive

This one seems pretty obvious, but with the recent attention around texting and driving it made the list. When you’re behind the wheel, don’t use your smart phone.

5. Say “Please” before “Cheese”

All smart phones have cameras and a straight connection to Facebook. Please ask our permission before you take a photo and tag it on Facebook.

6. Avoid taking a call when already in a face-to-face conversation

All smart phones have an ignore feature (on the iPhone 4/4s it’s the plus volume button), and you can always call the person back. If you have to take the call it’s important to ask permission of the person you’re talking to.

7. Acknowledge the delay

All mobile phones have a delay because they have to send your signal from radio to radio, tower to tower. Be patient when waiting for a response during a call. It may take a moment for the other person to get the question and properly respond.

8. Avoid texting during a face-to-face conversations

If you’re talking to someone and receive a text message, it is exceedingly rude to check the message and then text back. Don’t play games or send text messages in front of someone who expects your attention, whether it’s a grocery store clerk, doctor, business partner, or old friend.

9. Don’t blame the other guy for a dropped call

With more calls happening on cell phones, dropped calls are more common. Nationwide, between 2% and 4% of calls are dropped. It’s human nature to be biased in favor of one’s own phone and carrier. As a result, I’ve noticed that some people blame the other person’s phone for the dropped call after reconnecting. Saying “I think your phone must have dropped the call” sounds petty and can actually make people feel bad.

10. Be kind and respectful

Most importantly of all, just be kind and respectful to others with the use of your cell phone. Keep it, and your volume down, be appropriate, and be respectful. Mute your phone whenever possible. Keep calls short in public places.


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