Is mobile phone etiquette on a downward spiral?

Posted by Lydia Leavitt

As mobile phones fast become necessary fixtures in our everyday lives, mobile phone etiquette becomes more and more important. In fact, mobile misuse is becoming the new talking with your mouth full, offending people left and right.

In a recent study released by the Intel Corporation, nine out of ten Americans claim they have seen people misuse mobile technology and around 75 percent say mobile manners are becoming worse as compared to one year ago.

A 2011 report from Pew Internet & American Life Project states that around 85 percent of U.S. adults own a cell phone, 52 percent own a laptop, 4 percent own a tablet (and growing), and only 9 percent do not own any of these types of devices.

"New digital technologies are becoming a mainstay in consumers' lives, but we haven't yet worked out for ourselves, our families, communities and societies what all the right kinds of behaviors and expectations will be," said Genevieve Bell, Intel Fellow and head of interaction and experience research, Intel Labs.

"Our appropriate digital technology behaviors are still embryonic, and it's important for Intel and the entire industry to maintain a dialogue about the way people use technology and our personal relationships with technology as they continue to help shape societal and cultural norms,” added Bell.

The study showed around 92 percent of people surveyed agreed that they wished those around them practiced better mobile etiquette in public. Although 92 percent agreed on this statistic, 19 percent also admitted that they were guilty of poor mobile etiquette in public like chatting in a public space or texting while having a conversation.

Intel has coined this public misuse "public displays of technology," somewhat reminiscent of “public displays of affection,” something that the majority of people agree repulses one and all.

The survey revealed that individuals see around five "PDT" offenses daily, with 73 percent of people agreeing that the most annoying being using a mobile phone while driving. Coming in second at 65 percent is talking loudly on a mobile phone in a public space, and third at 28 percent is talking while walking.

"The premise of etiquette and how we socialize with one another is not a new concept. Whenever we interact with another person directly or through the use of mobile technology, etiquette is a factor," explained author and etiquette expert Anna Post of The Emily Post Institute.

"We can all be more cognizant of how we use our mobile technology and how our usage may impact others around us - at home, in the office and whenever we are in public."

Overall, it seems like the majority of people find it rude to talk loudly in public or text during a conversation, but simply don’t care. Perhaps mobile etiquette will become more embedded in American culture as become they become more and more popular.