10 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Smartphone


Go ahead, join a gym. Promise to cut back on Diet Cokes. Or say you’ll call your mom more. But what you really need to do in 2013 is change your mobile habits — at least all your friends, family members and elevator companions wish it upon you. Because let’s face it: No one likes talking to you while you’re taking a dump, sitting across the dinner table as you obsessively scroll through Facebook, or hearing your entire conversation with your mother on a crowded train.

So let’s make a pact: 2013 will be all about mobile device etiquette. The world will thank us. We won’t turn into smartphone zombies (at least not fully). You probably have an idea of what you need to work on. If not, here are some suggestions — or just ask your wife.

1. No Phones at the Table

We’ve all been guilty of it at some point, but we also all know how aggravating it is to be trying to have a conversation with someone who keeps checking his phone. We like this rule: Before sitting down to dinner, stack all your phones in a pile. The first person to touch that stack picks up the bill.

2. Stop Yelling at Siri

She’s been around long enough now that we get it: She doesn’t know where you want to go, she can’t read your mind, and she can’t solve world hunger. So let’s wrap her voice up in a little box, store it in the depths of your phone, and move on.

3. Don’t Take Pictures With Your iPad

So what if your iPad has a 10-megapixel camera? Taking a picture with it is unwieldily, clunky and just looks plain stupid. Case in point: Spike Lee, pictured. (On a related note: Let’s also ban photos of concerts. Why everyone feels compelled to take and post them is beyond us — all that comes out are stage lights and little figures of people that you couldn’t recognize as Mick Jagger even if you tried.)

4. End the Selfie

We’re getting into pie-in-the-sky resolutions here, but let’s all try to agree on putting a ban on the holding-the-phone-way-up-high, duck-face, self portrait. We all know it took you 50 tries to get that perfect pouting look. Get over yourself.

5. Stop Using the Phone in the Bathroom

This should just be a matter of common decency. But apparently not — 75 percent of Americans say they call, text, or play mobile games on the john. Which is just … wrong. Do you really call your mother with that phone?!

6. No “Vague-Booking”

Facebook isn’t your psychiatrist. So stop posting those vague, cryptic, open-ended status updates that make your friends wonder whether you’re in need of some serious help or not. Life’s so hard… Some people are so cruel! … Why’s this always happen to me? Go see a shrink.

7. No More Angry Birds

First of all, this game is so 2010. Secondly, if you’re over the age of 17 you just shouldn’t have downloaded it in the first place. Sitting in a suit on the train, furiously throwing sling shots at pigs is just unattractive. Period.

8. Don’t Text Important Life Moments

Hey mom, dghtr brn 2day 8lbs 2oz!

Doesn’t sound right, does it? It’s even worse if it’s a group message. Big events merit a real phone call. This goes for break-ups, engagements, serious illnesses — you get the point.

9. Send One Text, Not Seven

Option 1:

See U in 10 mins!

OK cool.

Almost there.

Sounds good.

Where R U? I’m in lobby.

Near back.

OK cool.

OK cool.

There you are!


OK cool.

Option 2:

Almost there. See you in 10 mins!

Cool. We’re near the back.

10. Stop Recording Everything

Listen up, Scorsese. You spent $70 on those concert tickets. So instead of whipping out your phone and trying to remake The Last Waltz with your crappy, blurry, shaky, camera-phone just so you can watch it later at night on a four-inch screen (which you’ll never do anyhow), how about you just enjoy the moment?

More: The Year in Review: Top Mobile Trends of 2012.

Image used under Creative Commons from Flickr user puuikibeach.