There Are Too Many “Public Displays of Technology” in This Country: Survey

As a society, are we engaging in too many “public displays of technology”? According to the findings of a new survey, the answer is yes. The report was conducted by Ipsos and sponsored by Intel, on the topic of “mobile etiqutte.”

We’ve long heard people complaints about PDA, or public displays of affection. “Get a room!” is the typical response. But now it’s the other kind of PDA–the personal digital assistant, the smartphone–that’s leading to public displays of an even more unfortunate sort. According to Intel’s survey, 91% of American adults say they’ve seen people misuse mobile technology (which seems a little low, actually), while 75% think the problem is worse now than it was in 2009. One in five ‘fessed up to engaging in bad behavior themselves. People are seeing about five such “mobile offenses” every day. “Hang it up!” is the new “Get a room!”

And whereas PDA was an occasional occurence, PDAs are everywhere. Some recent figures from Pew on technology: 85% of American adults have a cell phone, 52% have a laptop, and 4% have a tablet. These are technologies that connect us, but as some authors have recently noted, they also separate us. The irony of social networks is that they can actually be damaging to our relationships with those around us, according to some scholars. Yet as technology proliferates, so does our use of social networks. Another just-released study, this one by eMarketer, shows that 57% of American Internet users–132.5 million people–are now on Facebook. By 2013, that number will climb to 62%.

If we hate technology so much, why do we love it so dearly? Facebook, laptop, iPhone, why can’t I quit you?

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