Thursday, May 29, 2008

Cellphone etiquette!

DOTC Secretary Leandro Mendoza wants texting to be free in the Philippines. Now that, is the most IDIOTIC idea that has come from anyone. It shows that the anointed head of the Department of Transportation & Communication of this country is as lame-brained as the appointer. I will not engage in an argumentative thesis here. He is not worth the debate.

If you allow texting to be free in this country, it's tantamount to anarchy!

On the lighter side, there must be some etiquette to using a mobile phone. So now you have a phone.

A few reminders before you dial those digits

1. If you're calling someone important or your boss, unless his or her house or the office is burning or the world is coming to an end, make sure you text first to see if you can call. After all, this guy is probably busier than you.

2. Always try calling the land line first! Most of the people you're calling have a contact number in their offices or homes. It not only saves you money but you save the other person money too, especially when he or she is out of the country. For everyone's information, when you dial a mobile number and the recipient is out of the country, it's the recipient that pays for the call when he or she is roaming! Your participation fee is either a miniscule or just part of your plan (which means it's probably free). For a P3.00/min call you make from your phone to mine when I am roaming, I pay around P40-70/min depending on the country I am roaming at. The Philippines has the most expensive roaming charges for your information. This is what the DOTC should be running after!

3. When you hear a busy tone or the phone rings for 4-5 times and no one is picking up, don't redial. Send a text message. The person you're calling may not be within reach of the phone, or may be busy or is in a meeting. If it's not an emergency, for goodness sake, back-off!

4. If a sales agent asks you to recommend "friends" of yours whom you can recommend for a sales deal, please DO NOT give them the phone numbers of your "friend". Unless you consider him your worst nightmare, then by all means, do so. You don't want every Tom, Dick and Harry harassing you with phone calls from conspicuous people. It's the best way a crime is perpetuated. Thank the Filipinos for ingenuity in a criminal act when it comes to using a mobile phone.

Then there's the texting or SMS sending part

1. Avoid using short-cuts unless it's universally understandable. You don't want people to be guessing what you're trying to say. And because other people have better things to do with their time and their lives and you don't, doesn't mean you have to waste theirs by texting "pcm (please call me)" when what you meant was "please come here".

2. Check your messages before sending it. You may have been texting without looking at your mobile phone in order to show the world that you're ambidextrous and that you have a knack at both talking and texting at the same time, only to find out - you texted "gjtyhsl dkjt kkk" - guess what stupid, wrong text, wrong send!

3. Keep messages short and INFREQUENT. Bombarding someone with texts makes you look obsessive or psychotic or neurotic or mentally ill or bored with life. Get a hobby. Download a game. Better yet, make a blogsite.

4. Don't text in the middle of the night. My patients love to do this. I always put my phone in mute when I go to bed. My partner taught me this. It gives me better sleep. When there's an emergency, rush the patient to the hospital! People who text you are looking for a freebie! For the record, it is always best to end all texting by 10pm. Text message sent after 10pm should be slapped a full call charge!

5. Never text want you don't want remembered forever.

6. Don't argue via text message. You won't win. If you disagree, end the text message with "we'll talk about it later". Let the issue simmer down and get both your acts together. And never, never, press the call button when you're mad. You'll regret it. Composure is dignity in action.

7. Don't send spam texts. I thought the era of chain letters ended eons ago on to resurrect with the advent of mobile phones. Like saying prayers to 15 saints or sending that particular text message of 15 friends and wishing on a star or praying to the moon and all that crap. That, is sacrilege! Though some say there is nothing to lose but a few pesos for God, you've just propagated the mundane thought of desperation. Think about it. If you needed to send the text message to 20 people at 50cents per message that's P10 a day. If you did that 5x a week that's P50 in a week or P200 in a month. Donate that to Unicef and you could send a poor kid to school and keep his hopes in building a better country. Instead, you just made Smart or Globe a little richer. I have a feeling that the phone companies started these religious spams, counting on the religious fanaticism of the Pinoy. People who do this should and ought to get a life!


Don't text and drive! You may think you're the best driver and that your dexterity in multitasking is a feat to contend with. Well, if you do, then you're a self-centered bastard. Think of the other people on the road. Remember, it takes two to tango. It's good if only you get into a mishap and die because of your irresponsibility. You don't need to bring the other party to hell with you. Hands on the wheels, not on the phone.

And if you can't resist nor avoid having to text back immediately, take a public transportation or better yet, get a driver.

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