People constantly fiddling with their phones are such eyesores!

Considering that only the creme de la creme of Philippine society was invited to grace the 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA) delivered by Philippine President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III, it remains quite remarkable that bad manners continued to baldly manifest itself in this chi chi occasion. Too bad for all those who bothered to come in their Sunday best. When you spy a crowd with people who continue to obssess with their iPhones and Samsungs even as the President speaks, you know you are in ill-bred company.

Mark of ill breeding: Abigail Binay fiddling with her phone as President BS Aquino delivers his SONA

Mark of ill breeding: Abigail Binay fiddling with her phone as President BS Aquino delivers his SONA

Indeed, the ubiquity of smartphones today has delivered us an unintended benefit — it gives us more reliable insight into how well-bred and well-mannered a person is. Studies have shown that the mere sight of a phone is enough to make people feel “less positive” towards the person wielding the device.

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Having a ‘meaningful’ conversation rather than a mundane one increased the feelings of closeness and trust in their partner for participants who were likely to see a notebook during their chat.

But the same effect did not occur for those who had a mobile phone lying nearby, the authors report in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.

‘These results demonstrate that the presence of mobile phones can interfere with human relationships, an effect that is most clear when individuals are discussing personally meaningful topics,’ the researchers wrote.

Back in 2009, the New York Times reported about the issue of phone manners on the tail of its then still-emerging ubiquity following the launch of the iPhone a couple of years earlier. At the time Blackberry dominated the business market for smartphones and was associated with “investment banker types” who often were the ones seen fiddling with them in meetings. Indeed, there is reason to believe that incessant smartphone use may be an unconscious signal of its users’ feeling of self importance. The NYT article concludes…

Mr. Brotherton, [a media consultant in Seattle], wrote in an e-mail message that it was customary now for professionals to lay BlackBerrys or iPhones on a conference table before a meeting — like gunfighters placing their Colt revolvers on the card tables in a saloon. “It’s a not-so-subtle way of signaling ‘I’m connected. I’m busy. I’m important. And if this meeting doesn’t hold my interest, I’ve got 10 other things I can do instead.’ ”

Indeed, perhaps. But most people are not like the average investment banker or hot-shot consultant with a million client meetings to attend. When you engage in such behaviour before your family and closest friends — people who know you are anything but — you merely come across as sad and annoying. Worse, for those of us who are in the creative professions, these devices can actually dry up our essential juices

If you turn every spare moment (a red light, a line at the salad station, a ride in the elevator) into an excuse to check your Cinemagram feed, you just won’t have those artistic a ha! moments. (And no, “Draw Something” doesn’t count.)

It seems, stringent standards have already been set long ago regarding the use — even just the sight — of mobile phones in polite company…

There is something severely incongruous about a mobile phone on a pressed white linen tablecloth. It’s just plain wrong. Switch it off or face the wrath of the righteous. You wouldn’t pull out a cryptic crossword during dinner, so why a mobile.

If we cannot teach Filipinos not to piss on public streets, at least teach the next generation to stop acting like jackasses and get off their mobile phones when the occasion calls for it.

[Photo courtesy Philippine Star.]

8 Replies to “People constantly fiddling with their phones are such eyesores!”

  1. Aw, come on, Benigno, with that Philstar article you just managed to put in fiddling with phones. How about the more obvious, outright unethical and bad manner of sleeping (ok, napping…ok catnapping) while the President of the Philippines is delivering a speech? And yes, the other people seemingly not mentally present with the event on hand?

    But then again, it might just be a case of “I have more important things to occupy my mind with than listen to your drama (SONA), we all know it’s just for show, check out the gown….”

    If it was me delivering a report and witness such behaviors from the people I am addressing then, clearly, I have not done a job well done, because nobody seems to listen or even believe me or even bother to care with what I have to say. I have to be such an idiot to not to be able to see that. In Pnoy’s case though, it might not have been apparent as he was busy concentrating on his memorized speech.

    1. The impropriety of sleeping while someone delivers a speech is quite obvious to most. So no point in highlighting that. But fiddling with a phone? I think I that’s where many Filipinos need to be educated as we seem to be in the midst of a phone zombie apocalypse.

  2. You cannot pull out the: mobile phone, blackberry, iphone, ipad, etc…from the hands of this present generation. They cannot live without it. These electronic companies who manufactured these products are getting richer and richer, everyday. And the people who patented them are turning into multi-millionaires…

    It may be the reason Aquino almost cried “Crocodile Tears”, in his SONA. He saw his audience doing something; instead of listening to him. He never SAID ANYTHING, anyway…

      1. I disagree. Onion is more reliable. You can actually glean some truths in their ‘news’ and they don’t fail to make you chuckle.

  3. I wonder what do they fiddle with their phones for? Gossip is more important than important business? Or are they discussing under the table deals on their phones? I’m sure some people will want those texts and messages monitored.

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