Got any rude cell phone user stories?

* How do you and your friends measure up in the cell phone etiquette stakes?

Did you know that July is Wireless Etiquette Month? Yeah, neither did I, but two wireless carriers were courteous enough to remind me in the form of some press releases sent my way recently.

AT&T Wireless made me feel guilty about my phone use with this announcement: "New survey finds many report discourteous wireless phone use by others - but few admit to it themselves." The company cited a "non-scientific 'person-on-the-street' survey" of 200 people, which reported that 42% of those polled said most Americans rarely or never use their cell phone in a courteous manner. A full 95% said they personally were a courteous cell phone user at least most of the time.

Someone's fibbing!

And because AT&T Wireless cares about courteous cell phone usage, it is offering the following tips to cell phone users:

* Avoid 'cell yell' - you usually don't need to shout.

* Remember that your turn-offs may be pleasing to others. Basically, turn off your cell phone when you're in a restaurant, museum, library or theater.

* Take the call outside if you are in one of these locations.

* Use a text message instead of making a voice call.

* Ask before you take a photo with a camera phone.

But wait, there's more!

Sprint also cares about cell phone etiquette, as witnessed in its press release: "Sprint survey finds nearly two-thirds of Americans are uncomfortable overhearing wireless conversations in public." According to the Sprint survey (Sprint calls it the "2004 Sprint Wireless Courtesy Report"), 73% of the 723 U.S. adults surveyed said people are less courteous in general today than five years ago, while 80% said they felt people were less courteous when using a wireless phone today than five years ago. But like the AT&T Wireless survey, 97% said they classified themselves as "very courteous" or "somewhat courteous" in their use of a cell phone.

In addition to etiquette tips (see link below), Sprint offers us a Web site to let you take the Sprint Wireless Courtesy Test to see just how rude you are on the cell phone (link below). I scored a 74, and was told to review the etiquette tips "to succeed in your personal and professional communications."

I guess I'm just average, and would be considered rude by some types, since I use my wireless phone on an airplane (when permitted, I call my wife whenever the plane lands, etc.); in public places such as shopping malls; and have even used the wireless phone in a public bathroom (just once, I think, it's not a habit). On the other hand, I turn off the phone in quiet places such as museums, libraries and theaters.

But clearly, I'm not the rudest cell phone user in America. That's where you, the reader, comes in. I'm looking for the best story from readers on the rudest cell phone user, or the funniest or most awkward moment you've either done or observed with a cell phone user. The best stories will be highlighted in a future newsletter, and we'll award some random Network World-branded gear to our favorites as well.

Don't delay, send your stories in to mailto:kshaw@nww.com

And for crying out loud, turn that phone off!

Learn more about this topic

Sprint Wireless Etiquette Tips

Sprint Wireless Courtesy Test
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