Airplane Mode yes, but the phone stays on

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A blog post by St. Paul-based tech consultant and blogger Patrick Rhone is showing up on the front page of Techmeme today (Techmeme is a digest of the most-trafficked tech news, a must read for geeks and insiders).

Rhone tells a short story about a meeting with a very busy friend whose iPhone was going nuts. His friend shows respect by setting the phone to “Airplane Mode” which turns off Wi-Fi and 3G. Excerpt:

“…it got me to thinking why he chose Airplane Mode versus turning the phone off. After a few minutes at lunch it became readily apparent. We were showing photos across the table about our recent travels and activities. We were sharing tips, ideas and links and taking notes….I think far too often we deride the use of such technology when we are having a conversation or in a meeting as a distraction. This was a reminder to me that the technology can, when used effectively, provide a enhancement to the stories we tell and allow us to capture the things that matter…”

Are you bothered by friends who fidget with their phones during conversations? Are you an offender yourself? And do you believe that a smart phone, in a partially disabled state, can enhance friendly communications?

  • Shane

    I think I can speak for most that it is rude and annoying when someone is texting or checking email or something on their phone when you’re having a conversation with them. But when using the phone to help tell the story, I do believe that it can help. I’ve used my phone several times to show pictures I’ve taken to help them see what I saw.

  • Joanna

    The issue is one of rudeness vs. politeness. You can be equally rude without a device.