Let’s Talk: Smartphone Etiquette

Let me start this conversation by saying, I do own a smartphone. It’s an HTC One Mini and I’m really happy with it, but for the longest time I was actually against getting a smartphone. They’re expensive, they’re bigger than my pockets, and they have the ridiculous side effect of making people infinitely less social. In fact, I didn’t even have texting until college. When it comes to phones, as much as I dislike using them, I understand and appreciate the value of the spoken word, of hearing someone’s voice and intonation on the other end of the line. So I hesitated for a long time before joining the smartphone world, which I think makes me more aware of some of the following smartphone faux pas.

Texting/App Scrolling While With Others

For the record, I have no problem whipping out my phone to check my news reel while waiting for a friend. I’m always early and they’re inevitably late and playing an app game or sending a Snapchat can kill about 2.3 seconds of that waiting time. Horray for me, I’m slightly less bored now. However, once my friend actually arrives my phone stays in my bag. If I’m having lunch with someone, or even just taking the subway with them somewhere, then my attention is all on them. And that’s how it should be. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen people text at the dinner table, right when someone’s trying to talk to them. Its rude and unnecessary to update your Facebook status to “connect” with friends when you’re sitting right across from a real human being. It saddens me that I have to constantly remind people of that.

Photographing Everything.

They say, “Take a picture; it’ll last longer” and I guess that’s true. Taking pictures allows you to freeze a moment in time and capture a memory for later. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to do and good pictures are worth way more than 1000 words. But when your vacation turns into iPad selfies and quickly snapped photographs of the Mona Lisa, then you’re missing out on the experience. Your picture becomes more about convincing others that you’ve been there than it is about capturing an experience you properly enjoyed. So stop taking pictures of your first drink at 21 and try remembering what it felt like to be 21, remember the celebration and your friends for all the memories and not just the “Likes” on Instagram and Facebook. Those memories are infinitely more precious, I promise you.

Typing While Walking

I hate that I have to say this, but typing while walking (or driving for that matter) is straight up dangerous. The number of times I’ve seen people almost hurt because they’ve walked into the street without checking for traffic is astronomical and I’m sure I don’t have to actually add the statistics for texting related car accidents for you to understand why taking your eyes off the road for even a second is a supremely bad idea. If you’re looking down at your phone, that means that your attention is divided and you’re not aware of your surroundings; so keep your head up and your eyes on the road.

Stop talking/typing/using headphones when dealing with a cashier or waiter.

As someone who has worked a register before in my life, I can tell you that there is nothing more annoying than trying to help a customer who’s multitasking – especially if they’re wearing a Bluetooth or headphones. Asking someone multiple times to confirm their purchase or making people behind you wait in line longer because you’re distracted with a call or text or whatever is supremely unfair. You wouldn’t like it if a cashier did it to you, so don’t do it to them either.

Stop talking/typing/playing mobile games out loud in public.

There is no first world problem more odious than the sound of someone else’s phone incessantly beeping or tapping when you’re in a public place. If I’m on the subway home, I don’t want to hear your jamming techno music or your Candy Crush in-game elevator music – I just want to go home in peace. So turn off the volume or pop in your headphones. It’s polite, respectful, and a simple curtesy to others around you.


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