So, I consider myself an avid tech user. It’s hard not to be in this day and age. However, it seems some are intent on destroying my enthusiasm by recklessly using their gadgets to annoy others in public.
I propose we abide by a set of rules to promote tech etiquette, or ‘techiquette’, if you will. I’ve outlined just a few examples below to set the ball rolling.
Irritating texting tones from mobile phones
People talking on mobile phones in public places can be irritating at times, but generally it has become a background noise that is, for the most part, ignorable. However, there’s a group of mobile users who have little regard for those around them: the button tone composers.
These are people who have, for reasons only known to themselves, not disabled the keypad tones on their mobiles, meaning that typing even a simple text message is like listening to one of those musical birthday cards, albeit one composed by a drunk bear.
Techiquette solution: I propose that either these people find the silent function on their mobile (and I will be more than happy to show every single one of them), or they try to achieve a recognisable melody when typing a text message.
Sure, the recipient might wonder what ‘sgrdh fhgurbv gheccog ghdget hkwof’ actually means, but everyone on the senders bus will have been treated to a lovely version of Frère Jacques.
Engrossed in ebooks while on the move
Look around any train carriage, and you’ll probably spy at least one fellow commuter tucked into their Kindle. Unlike the mobile, e-readers are wonderfully silent – so what’s the problem?
The issue arises when that person reaches their stop and alights the train… still engrossed in the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. They’ll then drift in the vague direction of the exit, still buried in their book, not acknowledging the numerous commuters diving out of their way.
Techiquette solution: There’s really only one way to deal with people like this. Tell them the ending of the book they’re reading. This way, they don’t need to finish it, and they can navigate their way out of the station the usual way, rather than blindly bumping off the walls and other people like a literate pinball.
Pocket screens lighting up the silver screen
Going to the cinema is expensive these days. Tickets are usually £10 or more, and add to that the snacks, drinks, 3D glasses and so on, and a family trip to see the latest Pixar film can cost the same as a week’s caravan holiday in Norfolk. It’s important then, that those two hours are enjoyable and stress free.
But no. Tech has a plan for those of you who like to watch your films in complete immersion, and they come in the form of the lighthouse keeper film buff. A curious breed, these are people who will pay to see a film, and then spend that time playing on their mobile, the bright screen illuminating a radius of at least three rows in the process.
Techiquette solution: I propose that anyone who wants to play with their phone in the cinema must be forced to do so at times that coincide with the onscreen action. Imagine a thunderstorm during the film, with lightning being complemented by ten bright mobile screens being turned on in the cinema. Incredibly immersive.
Poor headphones pouring out rubbish music
Music, as Madonna once noted, makes the people come together. I can only assume from this that Madonna has never caught the 1703 from Moorgate, and sat next to someone with cheap headphones on listening to euro dance music at high volume.
As nice as it is that these people are so enthusiastic about sharing their interest, any music being played through someone else’s headphones is tinny and awful, and most of us would rather listen to a dot matrix printer printing out War and Peace.
Techiquette solution: The obvious answer, which involves a pair of scissors, might be frowned upon by the transport police. Instead, I recommend that we engage with these people. I can guarantee that if you express a maniacal interest in what they’re listening to, they will quickly turn it down, and give you a wide berth next time they get on your train.
So these are my suggestions, but I am sure there are countless other examples that display a severe lack of ‘techiquette’. What are your personal gripes with public tech?