Smartphone Etiquette: Mind Your Manners for the Holidays

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Smartphone Etiquette: Mind Your Manners for the Holidays
Artwork: Chip Taylor
Rule 3: Three's a crowd on a date. The holiday season is also a time for warm fires, romantic dinners, and first dates. Yet while your iPhone goes everywhere you do, just remember that sometimes three is a crowd. Sixty percent of adult respondents consider using a mobile device while on a date to be inappropriate.

Let's face it: When you or your date whips out an iPhone and starts texting away, insecure minds think the worst. What is she really texting? Perhaps This guy is so boring. Or maybe She won't stop talking.

Then there's the awkward minutes after a text as you wait for the iPhone to ring and your date to bolt for the door. Rest assured the text was the tried and true Call me in five minutes, say it's an emergency and get me out of here!

Smartphone Etiquette: Mind Your Manners for the Holidays
Artwork: Chip Taylor
Rule 4: Holiday parties are a time for socializing, not social networking. Seven out of 10 respondents think it's unacceptable to check emails, send text messages and make phone calls while in the company of others, let alone while on a date. And more than half said they would be offended if they were at a holiday party and someone secretly tried to tap the Internet at the table. I'm assuming they would include tweeting and playing Texas Hold 'Em on the iPhone as inconsiderate, too.

Imagine a holiday event filled with partygoers twittering about everything, from the appetizers to the who's-with-who gossip. It's not far-fetched: A new report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project claims that nearly one in five Internet-savvy Americans use Twitter or some other social networking status update service—more than double the number from the year prior.

Rule 5: Turn off your iPhone before it becomes a turn-off. In a recent Huffington Post story, Carl Honore tells how his friend's lover decided to read a text message and tap out a reply during an, ahem, intimate moment. His friend, Honore says, was crestfallen. The mood? Ruined.

The truth is that the sound of an incoming text or email is often impossible to ignore. Who sent it? What does it say? Is it important? Critical? What will happen if I don't look at it? It's a mystery of the highest order.

Ringtones that identify callers can help solve some of this mystery, much like caller ID has done for the ordinary telephone. Or they can have the opposite effect: a call or voicemail or text from your BFF is just a screen tap away, and surely your BFF is waiting for a quick response.

"In this media-drenched, multitasking, always-on age, many of us have forgotten how to unplug and immerse ourselves completely in the moment," Honore writes. "We have forgotten how to slow down."

This story, "Smartphone Etiquette: Mind Your Manners for the Holidays" was originally published by CIO.

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