Please allow me a little rant, but first a disclaimer. I have a Blackberry that I dearly love. It gives me my e-mail while I'm away from home. If I'm away from my computer and need to check something I can go on-line and get the information I need. It contains my calendar and contact information. I can even use it as a phone! It is a great tool that helps me be more productive. But, it doesn't control my life.
Is there any real reason people must be available every moment they are awake? And if there is, why can't some people learn to put their phones on vibrate when they are in a meeting or public event? Last night I attended a church gathering, and during the prayer someone's phone started playing a tune. During the prayer we could hear the phone being turned off. Beep - Beep - Beep - Beep. Saturday I attended an estate auction and someone sitting behind me not only received a phone call but answered it and carried on a conversation without ever leavinghis seat. And don't even get me started about people driving 30 miles an hour down a highway while trying to talk on their phone!
Common courtesy should tell people that leaving your phone turned on while in a meeting with other people is simply rude. Quite frankly, I don't think most people are that important. I know I'm not. I will often leave my phone in the car when I go into a meeting, and if I do take my phone with me I make sure it is on vibrate, and I don't check it while someone is talking to me. Again, that should be common courtesy.
When I lead a workshop the first thing I do is ask people to put their phones on vibrate. I make a little joke of it so as not to upset anyone, but I just believe it is rude to the presenter and to the others who are there to have some song start playing during the presentation. Now, I have no problem with someone receiving a vibrating call who needs to leave the room to answer it. That's no more disturbing than someone who needs to go to the restroom, and I know there are people who are anticipating possible emergency or very important calls who do need to answer their phone. I've taken such calls like that myself during meetings and left the room to answer them, but my phone was always on vibrate.
If I was pastoring I would have an announcement on the screen or in the program every week reminding people to put their phones on vibrate. It's only courtesy to others attending the service. I don't want to be in the middle of a prayer and have someone's phone start playing a ring tone by Snoop Dog or have someone struggling with making a response to the message and being interrupted by a phone playing the theme from the Lone Ranger.
Cell phone technology has provided us with some great tools, but let's be courteous to one another how we use those phones. I think the Golden Rule could certainly apply here. End of rant.