Cellular communication has revolutionized the way in which people are connected. According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, more than 90 percent of smartphone users carry their phone at all times, and more than 80 percent never turn their device off. With cell phones playing such an integral role in daily communication, knowing the proper etiquette when communicating across a cellular network is crucial. Based on personal experience and communication theories, I’ve created a list of things to remember when using cell phones to communicate.
DO – USE CALLS IN LIEU OF TEXTING (AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE)
Emotions and inflection can be difficult to decipher through plain text. Hearing someone’s voice and inflection can help you accurately determine the relationship, or how the content should be understood, of the message. Text messaging can be a valuable tool, but phone calls leave no room for misinterpretation.
DON’T – BE AMBIGIOUS
My father is an excellent example of an ambiguous cellular communicator. His responses are often short and lack grammatical correctness. While text messaging is very useful for sending quick thoughts or ideas, it’s important to understand that the message receiver will need to interpret it. Using emojis, correct grammar, and being thorough are extremely beneficial ways to relay the true meaning of your message.
DO – APPLY VERBAL ETIQUETTE STANDARDS
It can be difficult to effectively communicate over a cellular connection if you don’t know the person with which you are communicating on a personal level. Applying your verbal communication etiquette can be a helpful way to gage your actions. If you wouldn’t show up to someone’s house at 3 a.m. with a question or thought, don’t call them at that time either. Using politeness theory is also a beneficial tool that can be applied to cellular communication. When interacting with someone for the first time, using politeness is helpful in generating a thoughtful reply from the receiver.
DON’T – BECOME DEPENDENT
Your phone should act as a tool, not a crutch. In referencing the study by the Pew Research Center mentioned above, smartphone users frequently have their phones on their person, but it is important to recognize when you should not be using it. When I am out with my family, we all place our phones face down in the center of the table to ensure verbal communication. Having methods like this creates an environment in which you become less reliant on your phone. If you must use your phone, be intentional.
– Lauren Donahue