'Butt dialing' and the nine new deadly sins of cell phone use

Thou shalt not use bad phone hygiene, take pictures at funerals or make untoward braggadocio

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The new deadly sins

While the old cell phone sins still pertain, here are nine new deadly sins of mobile phone use and how to avoid committing them or becoming a victim.

1. Butt dialing

This sin is typically caused by people who don't understand issues such as how the "dial last number called" feature can be accidentally triggered.

"It's happened to me," Pesci says. "It's embarrassing."

The recipient of a butt-dialed call typically hears background talk, the sound of clothes rustling or the contents of the purse jostling. However, there's the potential for embarrassment if the butt-dialer happens to be talking about sensitive business or personal issues.

Avoid butt dialing by learning how to lock the keyboard of your phone.

2. Aisle clogging

This sin occurs when people are clamoring to get off an airplane and somebody stands in the aisle and is focused on making a call, checking for voice messages, looking at e-mail or sending a text message. The result: Everybody behind the person is forced to wait.

"I was on a plane and somebody insisted on immediately getting on her phone to call whoever was picking her up," Winkler says. "'We just landed,' she said. 'Now, they've just opened the door.' Finally, a diplomatic man took her bag out of the overhead and handed it to her and she seemed to get the point."

Grenny noted that variations of this sin can occur in any line, such as the line of a fast-food restaurant or a grocery checkout. "It's absolute rudeness," he says.

Avoid aisle clogging by making the business at hand your first priority. Once you are in the terminal or out of line, you can check your e-mail, make your calls or send text messages. It can wait that long. Really.

3. Untoward braggadocio

This often takes the form of two or more people loudly comparing their phones in public. And, as mobile devices shrink, it often takes the form of "mine is smaller than yours." (Full disclosure: The author confesses to this particular sin.)

"It's a guy thing," Winkler laughs.

Grenny calls this sin "brandishing." "You'll see it on an airplane where one guy takes out his phone, and then his neighbor takes out his phone."

Avoid untoward braggadocio by not doing it. Or at least doing it quietly.

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