Cellular annoyance

Jun 24, 2008
Woman Cell Phone

Annoying mobile communications abroad
The results of a multi-national survey to be published in the International Journal of Mobile Communications reveals some surprises about cell phone use that have implications for organizations that rely on mobile communications. The study was undertaken by Robert Nickerson and Brenda Mak of San Francisco State University working with Henri Isaac of the University Paris-Dauphine.

We've all been annoyed by the noisy cell phone user on the daily commute telling their loved one at the other end, that they are "on the bus" or the ubiquitous and irritating ring tone. But, did you know that the French don't mind if you send a text message while walking and the Finns think that using your cell phone while driving should not be banned. People in Turkey are quite happy for people to use their phones in class but Italians are the most annoyed by people taking on their phones at the theatre, although Americans mind that the least.

According to Nickerson and colleagues cell phones have become to represent truly portable and individual communications and computing, they can be used any time, any place, any where. Cell phones in many ways are making fundamental changes in the way we communicate and compute, say the researchers, by studying them we have an opportunity to understand the different ways that new technologies affect society.

The flexibility of the cell phone for holding conversations, sending and receiving email and texts, listening to music, watching videos, and carrying out various computing tasks makes them at once very useful for the user and correspondingly annoying and even hazardous in some situations for other people.

Cell phones are widely used in diverse social settings from commuter transport to out on the street, from restaurant to restroom, and even in class. The researchers point out that cell phone conversations, ringtone sounds and device key clicks are some of the annoyances that other people near the user may perceive. In a medical setting or on air transport there are also issues of safety to consider.

The researchers have surveyed hundreds of individuals in Finland, France, Italy, Turkey, and the USA and have found that peoples' perception of cell phone use is strongly affected by age, gender and employment status, and even by country.

One final question the team asked in their survey was whether the user would feel lost without their cell phone for making calls. Italian respondents reported that they would be the least perturbed by the loss, well below the all-country average, while Americans and Turks would be the most concerned about such a loss.

Cell phones have become universal devices that provide many capabilities, the researchers conclude, organizations that utilize mobile communications with employees, business partners and customers must understand the social impact of cell phone use and how it varies in different social settings and from country to country to avoid a negative impact on goodwill. For the rest of us, it would be useful if the researchers could pass on their wisdom to the noisy cell phone user with the annoying ringtone who is still on the bus.

Source: Inderscience Publishers

Explore further: Millions without mobile phone service in Argentina

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Worms' mental GPS helps them find food

Dec 10, 2014

You've misplaced your cell phone. You start by scanning where you remember leaving it: on your bureau. You check and double-check the bureau before expanding your search around and below the bureau. Eventually, ...

Clearer future for blind thanks to vOICe device

Dec 12, 2014

New findings from researchers in our Department of Psychology could pave the way for better treatments for blind and partially-sighted people using the revolutionary sensory substitution device, 'The vOICe'. ...

Recommended for you

Britain's BT in talks to buy mobile operator EE

Dec 15, 2014

BT Group PLC said Monday it is in exclusive talks to buy mobile phone operator EE from Germany's Deutsche Telekom and France's Orange for 12.5 billion pounds ($20 billion) in cash and shares.

Re-imagining the network

Dec 12, 2014

Communication networks are evolving to keep pace with increasing consumer needs and business demands. We've already experienced the progressive jumps from 1G to 4G wireless networks and 5G is looming in the not-too-distant ...

High-speed Internet on its way to more schools

Dec 11, 2014

The Federal Communications Commission agreed Thursday to dramatically boost spending to bring high-speed Internet access to schools and libraries in poor or rural areas, a move that would likely increase Americans' phone ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.