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Bad Mobile Manners Unite America

Phone etiquette unites AmericansUnion members and state legislators may be clashing in Wisconsin and Republicans and Democrats battling in Washington, but there is actually one thing nearly all Americans can agree on -- your cell phone is annoying. Finally, something the whole nation can get behind.

Intel recently polled 2,000 adults nationwide on the fraught topic of digital etiquette and found huge frustration with how people use their smart phones and other mobile devices. 92 percent of respondents said they wish people practiced better etiquette when it comes to using their mobile devices in public. That's a higher percentage of the population than can agree the earth revolves around the sun. Genevieve Bell, head of interaction and experience research at Intel Labs, blames the relative novelty of our gadgets:

Mobile technology is still relatively novel.... Smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices are really still in their infancy, so it's no surprise that people still struggle with how to best integrate these devices into their lives.

New digital technologies are becoming a mainstay in consumers' lives, but we haven't yet worked out for ourselves, our families, communities and societies what all the right kinds of behaviors and expectations will be.

The only problem with this theory of evolving norms for public gadget use is they seem to be evolving in the wrong direction. Intel also found that 75 percent of people think mobile manners are becoming worse compared to just a year ago.

Exactly how bad is it? In a list of recommended etiquette tips released by Intel with the poll results, they felt the need to include this advice: "Some places should stay private: Don't use a mobile device while using a restroom." Really people, get it together. But even if you're sensible enough to separate your bathroom breaks from your internet browsing, striking a balance between connectivity and sensitivity to those in your actual physical presence can be tricky. What rules of thumb do you use when deciding when, where and how to use your gadgets?

Read More on BNET:

(Image courtesy of Flickr user Mike "Dakinewavamon" Kline, CC 2.0)
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