Fewer people annoyed by cellphone yapping

Probably because fewer people talk on them

By Alex Halperin
Published January 17, 2013 6:43PM (UTC)
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The Pew Research Center finds that fewer adults are annoyed by loud and obstructive cellphone users than in the past. In March 2006, half of all adults frequently encountered boorish gabbing. By last year only 39 percent frequently encountered it.

This data correlates almost perfectly with the 2007 debut of the iPhone, and the subsequent ascent of sophisticated Android phones. While BlackBerrys existed before 2006, it was with the Apple product that smartphones began their rapid evolution from communication devices to full-on distraction machines equipped with devilishly addictive casual games like Angry Birds and the capacity to, for example, play video or obsess over social media. Twitter also had its breakout moment in 2007 at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. Talking on the phone has lost cachet. Talking is just another thing people do on their phones.


The number of adults who admit to being scolded or shamed for their own obnoxious talking was far lower, at 6 percent, down a mere 2 percent from 2006. Technology might change but human nature remains the same.

Alex Halperin

Alex Halperin is news editor at Salon. You can follow him on Twitter @alexhalperin.

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