It's National Cellphone Courtesy Month: Please silence your ringtone.
Column: We love our mobile phones, if only everyone else would stop using theirs.
Last week, poor cellphone etiquette surfaced at the White House. During President Obama's speech, a person's cellphone began to ring among a room full of journalists and politicians. The speech, broadcast on live TV, was a top video on YouTube last week, mainly because the person's ringtone was none other than the sound of a quacking duck. The unusual ringtone not only produced bouts of laughter throughout the room, but it interrupted President Obama's train of thought, prompting him to ask "Where do you guys get these ringtones? I'm curious."Skip to next paragraph
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Though the president managed to brush off the distraction with a bit of humor, it's this type of uncouth cellphone behavior such as forgetting to silence your ringtone that prompted etiquette expert Jacqueline Whitmore to officially declare July "National Cell Phone Courtesy Month" in 2002. In her blog, Ms. Whitmore lists a few of her favorite cellphone etiquette horror stories, including one incident where a lawyer decided to have a three-way speaker phone conversation with his client and the client's publicist on an Amtrak. For the past seven years, she's tried to raise awareness on proper cellphone etiquette to "encourage the increasingly unmindful corps of cell phone users to be more respectful of their surroundings."
Cellphone etiquette 101
In December 2008, there were 270.3 million cellphone subscribers, according to the wireless industry's trade association. And it's a number that will likely continue to grow. In a recent CSM weekly story, we reported that the US government announced in May that American homes that only used cellphones had surpassed homes that only had landlines.
With this increase in cellphone usage comes a need for manners, or at least awareness. A June 2009 survey by Intel reported that 90 percent of people are annoyed by cellphone users' etiquette. The top cellphone pet peeves? Texting while driving, followed by people chatting loudly on their mobile devices.