late afternoon yesterday i cut out of work early (hey, i started at 6am) in order to take a cruise around the marina del rey harbor with my pal te'o. as we tooled around in his little boat, we were reflecting on how there really don't seem to be any rules or established "common sense" for using the massive amount of consumer technology now available. sensing an opp'ty to be both snarky and elitist, we seized the moment and i offer you this list of new rules for using today's tech, with a heavy focus on mobile phones.
1. use silent or vibrate mode on your mobile phone in the office
it's hard enough to focus on what your doing with IM, email and 2 phones (land line and a mobile) vying for your attention, you certainly don't need someone else's phone binging off every 30 minutes as my old office mate's used to do when he forgot to take it to meetings with him. i resolved the problem by threatening to flush it down the toilet.
2. don't put IM on your mobile phone
you can already text ppl from your phone to get that groovy sense of immediate gratification, why would you need IM? and you can use the web from your phone (at least ppl with a smartphone can), as well as email. do you really need IM on your mobile? i say give it up.
3. it's ok not to answer your phone
and i've yet to miss an important call.really. just b/c you can be accessible damn near anywhere, doesn't mean you should be. i can't tell you how many times i've walked into a public restroom and i can hear someone yapping away with their pal while sitting on the can. yuck. this is an extreme case, but i've become accustomed to leaving my phone at home on the weekend or shutting it off in the evening. it feels really good, try it.
4. don't invite ppl to join facebook groups
i think i have something like 18 group invitations pending, everything from joining the struggle vampires versus the zombies to the purdue women's lacrosse team. i'm over it. i've yet to figure out why i even need facebook groups.
5. don't call a bluetooth headset "a bluetooth"
this little gem came from a certain family member lately who will remain unnamed. bluetooth is a wireless protocol, not a device. it can connect your phone to your car, a keyboard to a computer, and the your digital picture frame to a phantom image of the virgin of guadalupe (ok, this one may take additional help from a psychic, but you get the idea). unless your willing to call a website "an HTTP", let's nip this one in the bud.
6. bluetooth headset <> fashion accessory
i said it before but apparently i'm losing this battle: i don't care how groovy and matchy your headset is, chances are you look really silly wearing it in your ear when your not talking. i've started seeing this all the time now, it's nutty. ever tried having a conversation with someone who is wearing it in their ear? first, the ear blinks every 5 seconds which i find really distracting while trying to maintain eye contact. secondly, you are often left to wonder if they've just picked up their phone and are speaking to you or someone else. lastly, it just seems rude that i am right in front of you and having a conversation yet i can be instantly interrupted and trumped by anyone who dials you up on your mobile to see what your favorite pizza topping is.
7. don't text, email or otherwise type while driving
the only exception to this is when stuck in traffic. this one is an obvious no-no, but i will admit to having done it.
8. keep your VM greeting 2 sentences or less
you can't always zing past every VM greeting, so for the love of god, pls keep it brief. 2 sentences or less is perfect. i don't need to know how to send you a fax, know how much you really want me to have a wonderful day, or hear your favorite quote from charles dickens. the related request here is to keep your VM messages short. not nearly as offensive and sometimes you just have to ramble a little but always appreciated.
9. don't just use your phone # as your VM greeting
i know you may not like hearing your recorded voice (not many ppl do, including myself), but i often wonder if i called the right person when i don't have any sort of aural clue when leaving a message. if you don't want a custom greeting, how about just your name? or getting someone else to say it?
10. mute while typing on a conference call
this happens once a day: i'm on a conference call with a slew of people, and someone is multitasking by hammering away on their keyboard. nothing wrong with multitasking, i do it just as much as the next person, however, you have to consider the noise factor of what your doing. nothing seems to be quite as rampant or popular as pounding out emails, IMs or anything else that requires frequent typing while pretending to listen in to the guy from finance explain budgetary procedure #71. it's just too damn loud. mute if you're going to type. or fold clothes. or dust the wood in the room. or rip your old CDs. i do all of these and they make very little noise to the ppl on the call.