Intel survey reveals 9 out of 10 U.S. adults annoyed by some mobile behaviors
90 percent of U.S. adults are frustrated by others’ etiquette or lack thereof when using mobile devices, including laptops, netbooks and smart phones in certain places according to the recent “Mobile Etiquette” survey conducted by Harris Interactive and sponsored by Intel Corporation.
Nine of 10 adults had a pet peeve with 72 percent of adults reporting that their top annoyance is when others text or type on their mobile devices while driving a car. As for other pet peeves, 63 percent of adults cited talking loudly on an Internet-enabled device in public as irritating, as well as discussing private matters in public (55 percent) and texting or typing on such devices while in the presence of others (54 percent).
The survey also found that while the majority of adults have pet peeves, only one-third (38 percent) admit to being mobile etiquette offenders themselves when it comes to texting in the company of others.
Key Survey Findings
According to the survey, more than 80 percent of adults have witnessed someone doing something strange while on a call or accessing the Internet via a mobile device. This is not surprising, as many adults are computing on the go with smaller, lightweight netbooks, laptops and mobile phones. Top responses for strange mobile etiquette behavior ranged from making a cashier wait until a phone call is completed and texting while driving. Other responses included using a laptop in a public bathroom and hearing typing and conversations at a church, funeral and doctor’s office.
Eighty-two percent of adults have been annoyed by others inappropriately using Internet enabled-devices in public places. More than half of adults (56 percent) report being annoyed by people who do not follow mobile etiquette rules in cafes and restaurants, and close to half (47 percent) felt the same way about movie theaters and concert venues. About four out of 10 (41 percent) adults mentioned retail and grocery stores as top spots where they are annoyed by mobile etiquette offenders, while about a quarter of adults (26 percent) listed public restrooms.
Still, only 38 percent of adults admitted at least sometimes texting or typing while in the company of others on their own devices. While 55 percent said it bothered them when others discussed private matters in public on their mobile phones and devices, only 28 percent of adults admitted they at least sometimes engaged in the same behavior.
Smaller, Lighter Mobile Devices Give Way to New Mobile Etiquette
“We have more and more technology in our lives – much of it in our handbags, backpacks, and pockets as well as our homes, offices and even cars. It is hardly surprising that we are still working out what is socially appropriate and what isn’t – we are still developing our techno-etiquettes,” said Genevieve Bell, an Intel Fellow and cultural anthropologist who studies technology and culture.
Even as new techno-etiquettes are getting sorted out, Bell says, we can look to common sense, government regulations and the kinds of things our parents and teachers told us for guidance:
* Experts agree typing and texting while driving is distracting and dangerous, not to mention really bad ergonomically. Do yourself and your fellow drivers a favor, keep the laptops closed and devices put away, or pull over before you type your next message or email – in some place around the world, failure to do this will earn you a ticket or worse.
* It turns out mobile devices don’t have secret cloaking properties or their own little cones of silence. So until they do, if it’s a conversation you wouldn’t want overheard, take your mobile device to a secluded area and keep the details between you and the person on the other end of the line.
* Bell recently had dinner with a man who confessed that he was the only man in the restroom not using a Blackberry* – he couldn’t decide whether to feel appalled or left out. Sure sometimes, you just have to make that call, but there are some places that we can all mostly agree should be considered off-limits. These locations include public restrooms, locker rooms, places of worship and restaurants while in the company of others, and especially while on a date — unless you need to be rescued, but that’s a different social etiquette.
* My mom taught me that sharing was good; yours probably taught you the same thing. Turns out she wasn’t always right. When watching videos on your computer in public, be sure to use your headphones — not everyone wants to share with you. Additionally, it’s rude to peer over someone else’s shoulder, so be sure not to let your eyes wander onto another person’s mobile device – unless of course you are dying to know what the new app is or the brand of that hopelessly sexy mobile phone.
* And while we are on the subject of sharing, the electric outlets at the local coffee shop or airport with Wi-Fi service are meant for the masses. If others are waiting, unplug and share the electric wealth, or do as one of my dear friends does and carry a power strip – you will make friends immediately.
* Some people can’t walk and chew gum at the same time. I am one of them. Many more can’t text or type while walking. I am one of them, too. So I have learnt through bitter experience, stubbed toes and faint embarrassment to take a second, come to a stop and finish typing that message. Otherwise you risk walking into people, bumping into fire hydrants or creating a big, mobile etiquette mess.
This survey was conducted online between April 8-10, 2009 within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Intel. Participants included 2,160 adults, ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact the media contact above.