No More Phone-Pas: Social Etiquette for the Modern Girl with Anna Musson

By Chloe Schneider 

Mobile giant Telstra have teamed up with Australia’s queen of social etiquette Anna Musson to  bring the topic of tech etiquette onto our agenda and to educate Australians on how to avoid ‘Phone-Pas’. 

We sat down with the delightful Anna Musson to talk about this new research…

RESCU: Why should we care about our phone etiquette?

Anna Musson:
The issue we are facing at the moment is that we need to have new etiquette to go with the new technology. What I love about Telstra’s research is that they’re not saying, ‘put you’re phone down it’s bad to use it, the future’s damned,’ they’re saying, ‘we know we like to use our mobile phone, our smart phones and our tablets, let’s use them with a social conscience and let’s just face up that we need to be more savvy when we use them’.

Telstra Fact: One third of Australians witness a Phone-Pas daily but the majority of us are actually guilty of the etiquette offences we most dislike others doing!

RESCU: When do you think it is appropriate to answer a phone call in public?

Anna Musson:
The litmus test in this situation is, ‘how is this going to impact other people?’ If you are able to have a quiet phone conversation at a coffee shop or the bus stop while you’re waiting for someone, that’s fine. But if it means that you’re going to be on the bus talking loudly or playing music loudly or tapping away furiously and you’re oblivious to your surroundings, it’s really not appropriate. So, for example, 34% of people are guilty of using their phone while crossing the road. This puts drivers at risk, puts yourself at risk and, also, the person on the [other end of the] phone doesn’t have your full attention.

Telstra Fact: Talking on a mobile phone when crossing the road is a bigger pet peeve for men (45%) than women (34%) while a noisy tapping texter annoys women (25%) more than men (18%)

RESCU: We admit we’re guilty of constantly checking emails; it’s almost a compulsion! How can we make ourselves resist checking emails and messages when it is inappropriate?

Anna Musson:
One of the good ways to get over this is to remember that the person in front of us trumps everything else. If you are in a conversation with someone: be in the conversation, be in the moment. Whatever is on your phone is not real life, it’s something that can wait or some stimuli that doesn’t have an immediate impact on you.

RESCU: We read in the Telstra information that some people are stressed out by others checking their phone. Why is this?

Anna Musson:
When you are on your phone, the other person doesn’t have your full attention. So if you’re having a meeting, it immediately sends a message to the other people in that meeting that they are less important than the person you’re responding to [on your phone] and that is not right. So the order of communication is; face to face, followed by the phone, followed by a hand written note, then email, then SMS, then Facebook.

Telstra Fact: Holding inappropriate conversations on the phone in public (80%), using a phone while driving (80%), loud and annoying ring tones (55%), listening to music loudly on a phone in public (54%) and using a phone while crossing the road (40%) are our top five gripes.

RESCU: How can having your phone at the dinner table or in bed affect a relationship?

Anna Musson:
Your partner doesn’t necessarily know what your doing on your phone, you could be looking at an online rating system for all they know! Phones can also have a detrimental effect on relationships because they leave the other person feeling less valuable. There should be no phones in the bedroom. There should a time and a place for everything. The dinner table is for eating, the bedroom is for sleeping and…

Telstra Fact: More than one-third (36%) of Australians believe tablets are also having an impact on good etiquette. Listening to music loudly on a phone in public (40%), showing-off apps (38%), using a tablet at the dinner table (34%), forcing people to look at personal pics (34%) and not muting their text tone (24%) rate the most annoying.

RESCU: What are your top five tips for tech etiquette at work?

Anna Musson:

  • Don’t have an annoying ring tone
  • Don’t be facebook friends with your colleagues
  • Never take a phone to a meeting
  • Don’t pester your co-workers with the latest apps. 38% of people said that is the most annoying smart phone habit
  • Never ever text that you’re not coming to work that day

RESCU: We loved Telstra’s four different personalities. We were surprised the Peacock was the most common!

Anna Musson:
We want to show people our best life, not our real life, so we post when we’re doing something interesting, we’re never going to post that we’re doing the groceries! I think it’s human nature to want to show off and now we have an avenue for saying look at my fabulous life. So 38% of people are peacocks!

What’s your Phone-Pas Personality?

  • The Peacock (34%) You’re constantly posting status updates, checking-in your friends and talking loudly on your mobile phone. Your behaviour is designed to make sure everyone around you knows you have a ‘fabulous’ life.
  • Mover and Shaker (29%) You’re always on the go and your mobile phone is your lifeline, connecting you to work and your social life. You regularly get caught-out answering your mobile phone in meetings or responding to SMS at the dinner table.
  • Stimulation Seeker (19%) You can’t sit still and need to be in the know, so you pass the time – whether you’re on the bus or while crossing the road – browsing Facebook, downloading the latest apps or checking out your phone’s features.
  • I see, I Do (18%) You tend to follow the crowd and exhibit poor mobile manners because everyone else does – for instance, you’ll start checking emails during a work meeting because those around you are doing it too.

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