Mai*s Tips to Cell Phone Etiquette:
Mai’s Tips to Cell Phone
A quick guide of the Do’s and Don’ts for Today’s Cell Phone
By Maizah Albert
Mai’s Cell Phone Etiquette Tips-Volume 1
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Tip 1- The New User
Tip 2- To Text or Not to Text?
Tip 3- The One Worder
Tip 4- You’re so rude!
Tip 5- In My Own Little World
Tip 6- It Can Wait
Tip 7- The Wrong Place at the Wrong Time
Tip 8- The Selfish One
Tip 9- Oops, Wrong Person!
Tip 10- Stalker
Tip 11- Stuck in the Past
Tip 12- Share Everything
Tip 13- Wait, I gotta take a selfie!
Tip 14- Not Facebook Approved
Tip 15- Dear Diary
I remember going to the movie theater and before the movie would start all the announcer
would ask you to do is to be mindful of talking during the movie so you don’t disturb others.
Going to the movies in 2014, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing an animated cell phone video
asking the audience to do the following; please no texting, tweeting, posting and turn off
your ring tones. Wow how times have changed!
A great pick up line used to be for someone to ask, “Do you have the time”, but now one
might reply, “Is your cell phone dead?”
Cell phone which is short for cellular phone and also known as mobile phone has been
around for since 1983 when Motorola made history with the world’s first commercial
portable cell phone (Cooper 2013). The first cell phone was used in 1973 by Motorola’s,
Martin Cooper. Over the years cellular phones have evolved from being able to simply
make a phone call to texting, email and even watching movies all on one device.
Cell phones have evolved over the years is size, functions, memory and other
communication abilities. According to Nielsen, 64% of all American are Smartphone users,
a mobile phone with multiple functions, and owned at least one device in 2013.
Look how cellular phone have progressed over the years.
In this manual you will learn the Do’s, Don’ts and Absolutely NOT’s of cell phone usage.
The New User
Simple Just got Complicated!
Ring tones, ring back tones, text messages, voicemail, inbox messages, music, notifications,
visual voicemail, emails and the list goes on! So much goes on which just one cell phone.
Many older adults may have difficultly figuring out how to use their cellular phones.
Something that may seem basic to others such as answering the phone may be a challenge
to others. Due to this matter, the volume may be extremely high, standard ring tone
maybe inappropriate, or even the battery may be low which causes the cell phone to die
Here are a few basic tips for new user:
Purchase your cellular device inside the store instead of buying it online.
Ask the sales person as many questions as possible. Even have them demonstrate or
assist you with programming the phone before leaving the store.
Don’t follow the trends, get the cellular phone you feel the most comfortable using.
Actually read the manual that comes with the phone. This can be really helpful.
Most phones now come with an easy step by step set-up once you turn on the phone
that guides you through each applications of the phone.
Write down any passwords you’ve used while setting up applications. This is one of
the most common problems among new users. Most cellular smartphones require
email addresses for set-up.
Purchase a protective case and/or cover to keep your phone from damage. Which
brings me to my next tip.
PURCHASE THE INSURANCE PLAN! You’ll be glad you did. If you have a
smartphone, which most likely you do, it can cost between $300-500 to replace
Don’t be afraid to get to know your phone. So much to learn, but you’ll be happy
when you do.
To Text or not to Text????
Have you ever called someone, but they texted you back? Have you ever texted someone
and they called you back?
1. It’s 11pm on a Monday night, you receive a text message from your co-worker
asking, “Sorry to contact you so late, but what time is the mandatory meeting at
2. Friday morning and you’re getting ready for work and your best friend texts you
saying, “Guess what??!!! He proposed last night!!!!”
3. You’re on a romantic dinner date at fine dining restaurant, your cell phone rings. Do
4. After getting dropped off at the airport, your ride pulls off and you notice that
you left your passport on the front seat!!
5. While riding home from work on the train, you realize you forgot to set the DVR to
record your favorite show, so you text your wife to ask her to set the DVR.
Let’s see how well you did……
1. If you said, text back you’re right! It may be kind of late, but the meeting do to
the content of the text sounds important. It’s ok to reply with something like “its
ok, the meeting starts at 9am sharp! See you tomorrow, Goodnight!” Without being
rude, you replied back, but still let them know it was a little late for you by saying
Goodnight. Or course you can always get away with ignoring the text and
pretending to be asleep already and just text back in the morning.
2. Drop everything and call!!! Your friend may have texted, but would be delighted if
you called to congratulate her! Calls during moments of excitement are always
3. If it’s not a true emergency, DO NOT ANSWER IT! Not only rude to your date,
but it could also disturb other guests in the restaurant. The phone call could wait.
If you must respond, this would be an appropriate time to send a quick and short
text. Be sure to apologize to your date and make this is your 1st and last time using
your phone during dinner. Also be sure to put the phone away.
4. Call, call and call!! Do not text because they may not receive the text message
right away. Also since they just dropped you off at the airport, a back to back
phone call would seem important. In this case, it is.
5. Should your wife call or text you back? Text is the correct answer. If someone
texts you something of non-emergency, you don’t have to call back. Text back. Most
of the time, people text for a reason and this time, the person was on a quite train.
In order not to disturb the other around him, the text would be most appropriate.
Knowing when to text and when to answer your phone or call is very important. What is
meant to be a simple text message or a few words can turn into big argument!
Cat Got Your Tongue? - The One
Have you ever sent a long text message hoping to get the same type of response back or
maybe something even better? Instead you get something like this:
Sent-“Good morning sweetie! I hope you have a wonderful day at work today and I can’t
wait to see you when you get off. Been thinking about you all week!! Looking forward to our
date night. Miss you and love you!
Sent-I went grocery shopping yesterday. Picked up your favorite ice cream and got some
steaks for dinner to prepare tonight. I hope you have a taste for steak because I do and
I’m starving already! Trying to decide on what to cook with the steak. The ice cream will
be for dessert, but I might be too full to enjoy after dinner. See you in a few hours.
When receiving a text message it’s almost like when receiving a phone call. One word
answers whether via text or live conversation can make the person on the other end feel
like you don’t want to talk, irritated or something else is wrong.
It’s recommended to respond at least by answering, addressing or letting the person on
the other end know that you’ve read the entire message. In the first example above, the
response only addressed the first part of the message. No response to anything else. In
the second response of “ok” covered the entire basis in the text, but never showed any
excitement or appreciation of what the person expressed in the text message.
There are exceptions to one word responses:
Driving (you shouldn’t be texting anymore, but maybe a quick response at a redlight)
In the movies (in which if you decide to respond, you should say I’m at the movies)
Busy at work (most times if the person knows you well, they will know you’re at work
during this time)
If you’re going to respond back shortly after letting the person know you were busy
at the moment.
If picking up the phone is faster to respond to the person, it is strongly suggested.
You’re so rude!!!!
When sending a text message you are expressing yourself using mostly words. Sometimes
people may add pictures and video to the text as well. When texting using words you
should be mindful that person on the other end is reading your text, not listing to you
directly, but reading. How you intend for what you write to come across may not always be
how the other person reads it.
For example is there are several ways to respond to the following text.
Hey Stacy, can I borrow your blue sweater you wore to the movies a few weeks ago?
Sorry, it’s dirty
NO, IT’S DIRTY!
Naw, I don’t have it anymore
Using ALL CAPS WHEN TEXTING SOMEONE is like SCREAMING at them via text
message!! All CAPS, BOLD, and exclamations signs are all signs of, I NEED FOR YOU TO
UNDERSTAND WHAT I’M SAYING!!! See how wide your eyes opened while reading that.
When someone texts you, is a response always necessary? In most cases yes! Its good
manners to at least confirm you received the message especially when being asked a
question, receiving an invitation or given a compliment.
Exception to this tip:
Receiving a mass/group text message (you may not want to respond to everyone)
Being asked not respond
Sitting right next to the person sending the text.
You’re given a deadline to RSVP or respond by.
In My Own Little World
Sometimes our trip to work might be a bit longer than some. If you’re taking public
transportation whether it’s to work, school or even for other travel needs, you should be
mindful that you’re not alone.
One day I was coming from our downtown area and I took the Chicago Transit Authority
Bus Line. Everyone was fairly quite or voices to a minimum. A lady got onto the bus while on
her cell phone. It was like no one else was on that bus but her! Unfortunately, I learned
her taxes weren’t finished, she needed to finish her laundry, her friend is stupid, she
worked over-time week and a pleat era of other unless information I didn’t care to hear on
my ride home.
When taking Public Transportation:
Text messages should be used over live conversations when possible.
If you take or make a call, let the person know you’re on the train or bus and that
you will call then one you get off.
Use vibrate or silence your phone.
Don’t stretch your eyes too far (looking over the should of at ones pictures or text
messages is definitely not good.
It can wait!!
Most states now have cell phone bans while driving. No talking, texting or even looking at
digital maps. In Illinois, you must use hands free devices while driving. Here are a few tips
to remember regarding cells phones and driving:
If you’re driving with a passenger(s) in the car it’s rude to be on your phone for
extended periods of time.
Texting and driving is not safe and can of course danger you and the passenger(s)
Since most states have hands free law when using cell phones and driving, the call
would have to be on speaker phone which can not only be rude, but an invasion of
If you must use your cell phone while driving, you should always make the caller
aware that others are in the vehicle.
The passenger, especially the front seat passenger, should also remember to be
aware of ongoing texts and speaking on the phone as well.
If you’re on a date, then cells phones should be put away unless looking up
directions, calling to check on reservations, or the usage mutually involves
something with your date.
The Wrong Place at the Wrong
Finding out Macy’s has a sale tomorrow or your best friend got a new cell phone may not be
the time to discuss it while the movie is on and others have paid their money to watch it.
Or making love on the phone to your new sweetheart totally missing you’re next line at the
coffee shop could upset the person behind you.
Unless you plan on running out of the movie theater, missing the movie and possibly
leaving behind the person you came with, put the phone on vibrate and away soon as
you get into the theater.
In a store, give the person trying to assist you your undivided attention. Can the
call or text at least wait until after you order your food or purchase your items? If
not, wait to complete your conversation before even entering the establishment.
I know we all think we can multi-task, but DO NOT talk on the phone and try to
talk to the salesperson at the same time. End your conversation, then speak with
While in business meeting at work, you cell phone should be on vibrate or silent. If
you receive an important call, step outside and take the call. Remember, just
because you’re right outside the door doesn’t mean people can’t hear you. You
should still be mindful of your voice.
The Selfish One
Am I boring you?! That’s how I would feel if my date kept looking at his phone or held long
conversations while out with me.
Put that phone away!
Unless you’re expecting a call from the President, then a few hours without your
cell phone can be possible.
Give your date all the attention and your cell phone can be put on vibrate. If it’s an
emergency you’ll know because it will most likely ring more than once.
You also don’t want to come off like you’re not into your date or not interested.
Answering that call could change your entire attitude on the date by hearing some
news that dampers the mood.
If you do receive an important call that you must answer, politely excuse yourself
for a min. and return as quickly as possible. Be sure to apologize for the
interruption and then PUT THE PHONE AWAY!
Oops, wrong person!
How embarrassing it to send the wrong text to someone especially someone’s mom or your
boss?! Since most of the contacts stored in our phones are in alphabetical order and we
know people with like names or names that start with same letter sometimes this is bound
to happen. (Ex. Jones, Mike and Mike Jones)
If you have people with the same names, store one by the first name and other by
the last name.
Add things to the names in order to tell the difference (Ex. Marc Smith (School)
Select the name before typing in the message, type the message, then check the
name again before sending.
If you type the message first and you select the name most time you send before
you figured out it was the wrong person.
If your employer/boss allows you to text message them, be sure to store them
separate or possibly not at all. This way, it will be much harder to include them in
Remember, we are not perfect. Mistakes happen, so in the event be sure to
apologize and try not to let it happen again.
If you’re not a stalker, you’ll seem like one by doing this as shown in the picture above. Or
at minimum an annoying person.
Do not monitor someone’s actions on how they communicate.
Someone may have missed a call, but when they look at the phone, there is a
notification on the screen they respond to first.
A person could be in a place where they can’t talk or bad signal.
The phone could have gone straight to voicemail.
Someone else could be using the person’s phone.
If someone checks Facebook more then they return phones calls, send them a
message on Facebook instead. Problem resolved.
Stuck in the Past
As time has evolved and cell phones have more communication capabilities there are some
features people no longer use as much such as Voicemail! Considering the person would
have to check/listen to the message, it’s deemed as not as important. If one sends a text
message they may get it much faster.
Since most people send text messages more than picking up the phone to talk, “text
language” has become very popular. As shown in the photo above, acronyms like btw (by
the way), ttyl (talk to you later) and the most popular lol (laugh out loud) are amongst the
language used during texting.
If you don’t check voicemails, don’t set it up. Another option is to advise the caller
the fastest way to reach you on actual greeting.
Leaving a 5 min. voicemail is not cool. Keep all the long details to a live conversation.
A pet peeve of mine is when someone says “I got your voicemail, now what did you
Listen to your voicemails if you’re allowing others to leave you messages.
Know the person you are contacting and how to communicate with them. I had to
teach my mom some text language so that she understands my texts.
Also be mindful that because you phone may do everything under the sun, the
person contact may have a basic cell phone and can’t video message you or send
Smart phones have made access to social media super fast and easy. There are now even
social media site designed especially for the use of a cell phone such as Instagram. People
are able to share pictures, video and now it’s a trend to screen shot text message
Everything you do or say is not meant to shared with the world or even with-in your group
of friends and associates.
Don’t post pics of others on social media unless you get their approval.
It can be a little creepy liking photos at 3am, you might be a Night Owl or bored,
but others may not see it that way. Wait until a decent hour of the day.
Do not post things you will later regret. If you have to ask, “Should I post this?”
then the answer is probably no. Once you post it on the Internet, it out there for
Posting pictures of your workplace maybe against company policy. Don’t lose your
job because of a funny photo.
Wait, I “gotta” stop and take a
I’m probably guilty of this one! Everywhere you go or if you’re bored you must take
a selfie, a picture taken by ones ownself by turning the camera around to take the
pic at arms length. Even the President of the United States as pictured below
takes them. Not just girlfriends, but celebrities do it too. Selfies can be harmless
and fun, but also inappropriate during the wrong time.
Here’s when a Selfie can become a Help Me!
During a wedding ceremony when the bride is walking down the asile. The focus
should be on the bride, not you.
You may look very handsome or even cute, but while waiting for a job interview, NO
During surgery! It was said that Joan Rivers doctor took a selfie of her next to
Joan Rivers while in the hospital without her permission.
On a date, but not of you and your date. He is sitting across from you talking, but
instead you start taking selfies. Now if he run in the store to for something, while
you wait in the car, go ahead and Selfie While You Wait
It’s not Facebook Approved
Beyoncé may have awakened flawless, but not everyone is ready or wants their pictures
shared or posted on social media sites.
ALWAYS ask permission before sharing or posting photos.
Advice people that get in group pictures if the picture will be shared on social
If you notice something in a picture inappropriate or a wardrobe malfunction, don’t
post it. You’d like the same done for you.
Find out your workplace policies when posting/sharing photos from work on social
Remember once you post it, even when you delete it, it’s can still be out there
Privacy and confidentiality is very important! Since cell phones are used for
business and personal, journal writing, etc. it is necessary to be careful about
If you have your emails attached to your phone, be sure to log out of emails
when not using or use the screen lock function.
Do not share your passwords with others.
Our cell phones have become our everyday cameras also. It is bad manners
and an invasion of privacy to look through someone photos without
permission. It they show you one picture, look at that picture ONLY. DO
NOT scroll down or swipe left/right to view others.
If you ask to use someone’s phone, use it for the purpose you asked to use it
for and nothing else. Don’t check their emails, text messages, pictures, or
social media accounts.
Everyday cell phones are changing growing and it’s always more exciting ways to
communicate and share information. I’m by next year it will be more new and
unbelievable features added to our phones.
Be sure to look out for Volume 2 next year!