Acceptable Cell Phone Behavior


Spotted over at J.D. Lasica’s New Media Musings was a link to this article by Scott Goldberg of Digital Media Wire on “12 Unwritten Rules of Cell Phone Etiquette.” My favorite is number 11:

11) Lengthy Voicemail Messages
If I reach your voicemail, don’t you think I already know you can’t take my call right now and want me to leave my name, number, and a brief message? Do you need to waste my time telling me that? The whole process of leaving a message to begin with is too long. The last thing I want when I finally reach your personal greeting is a lengthy description of what you want me to do. We’ve been using cell phones long enough to know the drill. Just as you want my message to be brief, so too do I want you to keep your personal greeting short.

Now, I’ve certainly broken a few of these rules. What are your pet peeves when it comes to cell phones?


Chris Tomkinson

I have a sister who calls me all the time, leaving 15 minute long messages. I rarely have the time to even listen to them. I think I’m going to forward her to this article…


My pet peeve is someone who leaves a message containing just their name and phone number. For God’s sake, tell me what you want so maybe I can do it or at least be batter prepared when I return your call.

Mary Deaton

No way I am telling anyone who calls my cell or land line why I am not answering and when I will be back. Ever hear of burglars? At Christmas time?

I do want someone to give their name so I know I reached the right person. As to what else they tell me, or what I put on my own voice mail, consider that some people use both of their phones for both business and personal calls. You cannot be abrupt to business callers; they want to know they reached the right person and get some assurance you will respond.


Voicemail messages that consist of “Please call me.” Why can’t people just say what they wanted to say in the first place?


I like cell phone messages that actually tell where the person is or why he/she is busy and when he/she will be able to get back to me. I change my voicemail message daily so people can call and hear what I have to say – and then decide whether to call back or leave a VM, or if what they were calling for is not urgent enough based on what else I’m doing.

Island in the Net

I do not like it when someone calls my cell phone, gets the voicemail services, then calls back 30 seconds later hoping I’ll take the call the second ( or third) try.


I have a co-worker who consistently leaves meeting to answer his cell, even meetings he is leading. If I worked in a high stress industry in which snap decisions are necessary, I could, perhaps, understand. But in my work environment, this is anything but the case.


So the lengthy message? What do you say? “Michele’s phone… do it!” That’s quick. I do agree with the list though.

I don’t like having to press 1 to leave a voicemail, press 2 to leave a callback number. Don’t most phones automatically leave the callback number? It’s tough when I’m driving to have to do that when I’m using the voice recognition to dial the number in the first place.

People in public who speak really loudly… I was in an airport and this business guy was talking so loudly and was acting like he was being so tough on his employees. You could tell he thought he was cool because he’s “the boss”. All I kept thinking was, “God, what an ass.” Don’t be that guy.

I teach at an art school and some kids have these crazy ring tones (thanks Thomas Dolby ;-) and they let them go off for 45 seconds before answering them. Tupac ringtones rule.

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