Do Not Disturb – Smartphone Etiquette

On: October 18, 2012
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About Jolien Siemerink
I achieved my Masters in New Media & Digital Culture at the University of Amsterdam. Within media studies I focused my research on the development of demographics online. Specifically de-genderization, or the marketing related process - I found parallel to post democratization - that influences our online and thereby our offline personality while we are randomly surfing the world wide web.


 We’ve all been there. That moment that you wake up, I’m sorry no – have a small panic attack, because your (social) network decides that three o’clock in the morning is the best moment for: emailing, telling you things about themselves by sms / whatsapp, or my personal favourite calling you because they forgot it was three in the morning. Also forgetting that at this time your mobile is probably near your head. 

Like the old phone on my nightstand now is my mobile near me with a reason. I like being available for certain people when they need me. So my phone stays on despite of its light, bleeps and so on. But now there is IOS6. Let’s all forget the bad jokes about Google maps versus Apple maps. Apple has this wonderful new feature that lets you set the time in which you do not want to be disturbed and lets you choose a group that can disturb you. It’s called Do not Disturb.




Do Not Disturb.
A company that uses this scare tactic at night is Groupon (as you can see at the bottum of the mail panic illustration from The Oatmeal). I don’t believe that there is a discount so important that they can’t email me after my morning coffee. So here is a solution to get a good night sleep.

If you take your iPhone and go to settings you will see a new icon. It’s a little moon and next to it are the magic words: Do Not Disturb. Underneath you find the notifications button. If you look in to the notifications you can find a link to the settings of the Do Not Disturb button. You can now schedule a time in which you do not want to get disturbed.

From 00.00 till 06.30 in the morning I did not want to hear my mobile unless it was important. I allowed calls from the thuisthuis group. Which basically are people who do not call or email at night unless there is something going on that I need to know about. One week later and I can honestly say that I love this function on my phone.
You can extend the allowed callers to people who really want to reach you and try to call you again and again and again. Just slide the Repeated Calls to on.

Curious what other people thought of this function I started to search the Internet and found that the “[…] new Do Not Disturb feature is a lifesaver”, “Do Not Disturb will keep these nocturnal intrusions at bay on a schedule I set, so they’ll never disturb my girlfriend’s uneasy slumber”, and “get through a meeting or go to bed without being disturbed by the outside world” were indeed the main reasons to shout this new function of the roof. If this is how most of us feel about incoming calls on certain hours of the day why do we place these calls or messages? Should there be a Smartphone etiquette? The answer on multiple blogs is: Yes. We need Smartphone Etiquette.

Smartphone Etiquette
One of the pleas for Smartphone etiquette comes from Computerworld. The writer, Mike Elgan, starts by listing the old etiquette rules:

1. Do not speak too loudly when you’re in public
2. Do not talk about personal issues, when others can listen
3. Do not take phone calls if you’re a normal conversation
4. If you want to answer a call in front of others, ask if it is okay
5. No texting during a face-to-face conversation
6. Put your phone on ‘silent’ in cinemas, theatres and restaurants
7. Don’t play with your phone in a dark cinema or theatre
8. Use hands-free functions when you are in the car
9. No texting whilst driving any vehicle

These are pretty basic points, but which more and more people seem to forget.
I propose that we start acknowledging that with Smartphone connection and your new found friends all over the globe via Facebook and Twitter you now need to think of day and night time. This is a difficult task with all the different time zones. So I propose point 10 on the Smartphone Etiquette list.

10. Make your (and whomever could be sleeping next to you) live easier and use the Do Not Disturb Function. For you can simply not trust the world to change it’s habbits over night.


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