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Ten Commandments of Cell Phone Etiquette

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Core Tip:Commandments usually come in tens, so think of this as the first Ten Commandments of Cell Phone Etiquette.
 There comes a time in any technological revolution when some basic guidelines need to be laid down. It happened when e-mail exploded on the scene2, and people started to learn some basic dos and don'ts. No one teaches us these things in company training seminars; they're just learned on the job.

Well, I've reached the point with cell phones where I feel the need to lay down the law. There are some real abuses of wireless technology being perpetrated all around us;3 and the time has come to create some social order out of the cell phone chaos.

Commandments usually come in tens, so think of this as the first Ten Commandments of Cell Phone Etiquette.

1. Thou shalt not subject defenseless onlookers to cell phone conversations.4 When people cannot escape the banality of your conversation-on a plane, on a train, on a bus, in a cab, or at the dinner table-spare them.5

2. Thou shalt not set thy ringer to play "La Cucaracha" every time thy phone rings.6 Or Beethoven's Fifth, or the Bee Gees, or any other annoying melody. Is it not enough that phones go off every other second?7

3. Thou shalt turn thy cell phone off during public performances. I'm not even sure this one needs saying, but given the repeated violations8 of this unwritten law, I felt compelled to include it.

4. Thou shalt not wear more than two wireless devices on thy belt. This hasn't become a big problem yet. But with pagers and phones, Batman-esque utility belts are sure to follow.9

5. Thou shalt not dial while driving. In all seriousness, this madness has to stop. There are enough people in the world who have problems mastering vehicles and phones individually.10

6. Thou shalt not wear thy earpiece11 in the presence of thy friends. You seem being on the phone and carrying on another conversation with someone who is physically in your presence. No one knows if you're here or there.

7. Thou shalt not speak louder on thy cell phone than usual-these things have incredibly sensitive microphones. If your signal cuts out, speaking louder won't help.

8. Thou shalt not grow too attached to thy cell phone. For obvious reasons, a dependency on constant communication is not healthy. At work, go nuts. At home, give it a rest.12

9. Thou shalt not attempt to impress with thy cell phone. Not only is a cell phone no longer impressive in any way, users can be immediately identified as a neophyte and a poseur.13

10. Thou shalt not slam14 thy cell phone down on a restaurant table just in case it rings. Could you please be a little less conspicuous? If it rings, you'll hear it just as well if it's in your coat pocket or on your belt.

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