How to resist the gravitational pull of iPhones and laptops
Bill Adair

I’m trying to think what makes it ok / not ok to pull out a phone / laptop:

  • Paid vs. free (seems more ok if you or your neighbor didn’t pay to be there)
  • Perceived as entertainment vs. perceived as work / academic / boring (totally subjective)
  • Level of appreciation (are there connoisseurs around? i.e. at an opera — are you intruding on others experience? Again could apply to a range of experiences)
  • Quiet vs. loud (Vivaldi concert [not ok] vs. Green Day concert [ok] vs. presentation about closet hinges [ok] vs. movie about closet hinges [not ok])
  • A live person vs. recorded materials

Conclusion: phone / laptop etiquette is complex and arbitrary.

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