Do You Practice Smartphone Etiquette?

airplanemodeMy friends at AllAboutSymbian recently published an interesting piece on smartphone etiquette, stemming from a section that Debrett’s published on mobile etiquette. As mobile phones have invaded our lives, it seems as though most of us (myself included, at times) have completely forgotten etiquette and the idea that there is a time and a place for everything. With smartphones, and soon tablets, being accepted by more and more consumers, and the ‘always-on’ lifestyle gaining in popularity, it won’t be long before we’re glued to these displays 24-7, and it is going to require a conscious choice to combat this.

The Debrett’s article is rather short – a bulleted list of sixteen rules to remember when using a smartphone in public situations. Ewan at AllAboutSymbian also points to an anecdote from Patrick Rhone of a pair of friends going to lunch. One friend is rather high up at his company, and obviously uses his iPhone to manage his business when he’s away from his laptop. Despite this, when the two had lunch, the businessman actually put his iPhone on ‘airplane mode’ during their meal, as a silent sign of respect for his friend’s time.

To be honest, this is a big deal for me. I honestly can’t remember the last time I put my phone in airplane mode on purpose – probably back in October when I was actually on an airplane. However, it’s quite a bold move. On today’s smartphones, ‘airplane mode’ essentially disables all of the wireless connections that your phone may have – WiFi, cellular, Bluetooth, GPS, all of it – allowing you to still access the onboard features, but no communications will be incoming or outgoing.

While I most certainly am not ready to commit to doing this on a regular basis, I am definitely going to start doing this when I take my wife out on our date nights, and will be looking for additional situations in which ‘airplane mode’ is really the best option. What about you? When was the last time you put your phone in ‘airplane mode’ on purpose? Can you think of situations where you probably should be limiting your use of your smartphone?

Published by rcadden

Just a dude with a phone.

6 thoughts on “Do You Practice Smartphone Etiquette?

  1. While I won’t do airplane mode (having kids I want people to be able to reach me in an emergency), I make a point of turning off 3G services on my phone when I’m in those situations, so that I don’t get email/twitter/etc notifications, and I ignore text messages (since in an emergency, people would actually ring me up).

    That being said, I don’t completely buy that we need to shelve our phones 100% of the time in social situations. MG Siegler at TechCrunch recently had an interesting piece about how the smartphone can actually enhance our time with our friends ( and I agree with it 100%.

    It’s all about the situation.

  2. Interesting article, I have another suggestion that I to respect the time I have with my wife, family, friends and business, I don’t think actually turning off all communications is a good approach, specially for emergency reasons.

    What I do to keep it simple is disconnect email, social networks, and any internet service, for incoming calls, I prefer using a call filtering app, I use KillerMobile Black Baller, there are others, but the idea is to cancel all incoming calls, except a whitelist (important contacts), that also includes SMS filtering.

  3. Absolutely depends on the situation. I’m quite happy to throw my phone on silent, and airplane mode appeals to me as well.

    Emergencies? Really? I think it’s important to remember that most things will be fine. What if there’s an emergency when you’re camping in an area with no cellphone coverage, or whilst your on a plane. Those people will find another person to contact, just the same way that they did in a time before mobile phones. I think it’s important to regain a bit of respect for being out of the contact loop every once in a while.

    Ok, I don’t have kids, so perhaps I can’t really relate to that end of things, but you know what I mean 🙂

  4. I’m not sure that I can remember any time where it was absolutely vital that I be contacted instantly. Certainly nothing so important that it would have made any real difference if I was contacted an hour down the line.

  5. I often put my phone in silent or airplane mode when I am with other people. If I am intentionally with a group to do something, I don’t need to be interrupted; I can check the voice mail/email/SMS/tweet someone else sent me later.
    Just because I carry something that can be contacted at all times of the day doesn’t mean I want to be contacted.

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