Re: Annoyance of cell phone use in public spaces (Dan Freed )

Subject: Re: Annoyance of cell phone use in public spaces
From:    Dan Freed  <dfreed(at)HEI.ORG>
Date:    Mon, 6 Aug 2001 18:19:28 -0700

Like many others, I have spent a lot of time musing (and fuming) about this issue. I believe the problem is primarily social, not acoustic. While people often do seem to talk louder into their cell phones than they do in face-to-face conversations, I think that's a relatively minor factor in the annoyance equation. Consider this: how much tolerance would you have for someone talking to himself in public? Or someone singing along with his Walkman? Or drumming his fingers on the table? Even if these activities are done quietly, they are annoying, because they are violations of etiquette. But the thing about etiquette is that it evolves over time. I fear that where cell phones are concerned, standards of etiquette are already changing. Hard-core cell phone users simply don't think they're behaving rudely. This shift in attitude will probably increase, especially as a generation grows up that can't even remember a time before cell phones. We over-30 fogies may be doomed to go to our graves fulminating about the decline in standards of public behavior, while the younger set responds with puzzlement. Dan Freed Software Engineer, Hearing Aid Research Lab House Ear Institute 2100 W. Third St. Los Angeles, CA 90057 USA Phone: +1-213-353-7084 Fax: +1-213-413-0950 Email: dfreed(at)

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Electrical Engineering Dept., Columbia University