This is just a minor rant, but I think it bears mentioning.
There’s seems to be a new social behavior appearing in many circles now. I’ve been watching it increase in popularity and frequency for the last couple of years. I work in New York and my exposure to thousands of people every day greatly magnifies my awareness of this problem.
I’ve been using Bluetooth headsets for several years with my Palm PDAs and phones, as well as with my laptops and computers at the office (as audio devices, for Skype and so on).
I’ve probably had no less than a dozen separate headsets in the last 3-4 years. One of them was put through the wash by my wife at the time, another one was crushed, and the others are somewhere in my collection, replaced by faster, smaller, more-capable devices.
When I’m using the headset, I keep it in my ear. When I’m not on a call, I take it out. Herein lies the change in the social behavior of many people who use these headsets; they leave them in ALL THE TIME, whether they’re on a call or not.
My daughter is almost 4 years old and even she knows that when you’re not on the phone, you take the headset out. She sees me take it out when I’m off the phone, and she knows. I didn’t have to teach her. For her, it’s the signal that the call is over, and my attention can be directed towards her, listening to her, attending to her needs.
What are we teaching our youth here about being social and having people skills when we’re out in public? Nothing. We’re breeding more anti-social personalities and making our interactions with others “cold” and insensitive.
People who leave their bluetooth headsets in lack this signal. When you’re talking to someone, are they on a call? Are they listening to you? Are they playing music on their ipod over their bluetooth headset? Where is their attention?
You don’t know. You can’t tell.
You’re talking to someone face-to-face, and all you can see is that damn blinking blue LED on the side of their head drawing your eyes away from focusing on what you’re trying to say.
It’s rude, it’s distracting, it looks stupid, and it isn’t making our social interactions any more rich or fulfilling.
People wear them while they drive when they’re not on a call, and mostly on the driver’s side ear, so they can’t hear as well out that side of their vehicle.
What did we do before bluetooth headsets came around? Did we just strap the phone to our heads in anticipation of the next call?
Of course we didn’t!
It doesn’t make you look cool, important or special. Take the headset out, when you’re off the phone. Seriously.