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Turn Your Phone Off Will Change To Turn Your Phone On…. But When?

I am sure if you have gone to the movies in the past few weeks or months you have heard the announcement before the movie starts that says, “Please turn your phone off and don’t text during the movie because it can bother other customers.” I wouldn’t disagree with that statement, but the question is, ”How many would it bother and are they in the majority or minority?”

Nobody can argue with the fact that social media has exploded and changed our lives in the sense of what we do and how we do it. Isn’t the movie industry a little these days?

  • Shouldn’t they say, “Go ahead! You like the movie. Tweet away!”
  • Or “Please go to our Facebook page and click the like box.”
  • Or to tell you to email, tweet, etc. everyone you know that you are at our movie theatre, love the food, the customer service, the experience and everything else you can think of.

I truly believe the people that are offended by tweeting and texting during a movie are now in the minority – do you agree?

I also believe that the message of ‘turn off your phone’ will go away very soon and be replaced with ‘please text and tweet all you want’ – do you agree?

  • Does tweeting/texting bother you during a movie?
  • Would you tweet or text if movie theatre allowed it?
  • Do you think I am right or wrong?

I look forward to reading your thoughts.

19 Responses to “Turn Your Phone Off Will Change To Turn Your Phone On…. But When?” - Leave a Reply

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    Dan Rangel says:

    I have to disagree with you on this one. I find the illumination from the phone to be very distracting. Recently I was at a movie and a guy next to me kept texting. Every time he turned his phone on to text I found myself turning from the screen to see what was going on next to me. Movies are too expensive these days and I really don’t want anyone bothering me when they can just hold off a couple hours or get up and text away in the lobby if it’s that important.

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    Roger Austin says:

    I think you missed this one completely. I go to a movie to get away from the phone, email, etc… the day they allow it in the movie theatre will be my last day at a movie. I find it very distracting to have that flash of light when the phone comes on and I miss what is happening in the movie. Hopefully this will never be seen as the right course. If it is changed, shame on us for not being able to separate ourselves for 2 hours from these devices. That may be what is wrong with the family unit these days. If my children weren’t grown and i was taking the family to the movie, my rule would be leave them in the car.

    • Roger,

      While I don’t disagree with your point especially with it being a time to get away from technology etc but I wonder if/when our generation is in the minority and cinema’s will do this. There are already tweet only sections for plays and I have to believe at some point it will spill over to movies. Or who knows maybe there are tweet only movies?

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


  • Absolutely Disagree! I find it downright rude and disrespectful! Turn it off and Tweet after. The world does not revolve around you.

    Don’t get me started on this subject. I think it’s equally rude to be texting and checking your phone during meetings, lunches, in the retail check out line, in the turn lane, etc.

    These things say to me “You’re not important enough for me to give my attention to.”

    I once had lunch with an old colleague/client. He had two Junior people from his ad agency there. I had one Junior person. This is someone that was a client, yet this time the tables were turned as I was outsourcing a $50K re-branding project. He spent the entire hour looking down at his Phone. His Junior staff (late 20’s) also looked down a couple times. Not only was I beyond offended, so was my 25 year old Junior staff. We both felt completely disrespected.

    In the end…we never even followed up and I haven’t worked with this old colleague again.

    If you are too busy and important to spend one hour giving someone your attention I think this is lame.

    If you’re too self absorbed to turn your phone off for the duration of a movie, rent and stay home. Or perhaps you think everyone in line behind you cares about what is going on with you while they wait your super lame.

    Sorry, but I feel very strongly about this subject and feel that proper etiquette should be excersized.

    • Christine,

      I agree with almost everything you say but times have changed and will continue to change. I could easily see this happening and people like us will be effected in a negative way. Do me a favor go ask 5 people in your office (of different ages) if they would tweet or update their status etc on Facebook at a movie if they were allowed. I will be very surprised if everyone says no………

      Let me know.


      • I do not think it is appropriate at all. Bridge – 25 years old

        I think it is okay up until the lights go dim. If you must be on your cell after this point, I think the screen has to be turned way down as to not bother any neighbors during the movie. Carissa – 27 years old

        I think it’s a little rude. Your phone should be on vibrate the moment you walk in the door. Misty – 30 years old

        I don’t know why you would text? Why would you pay all that money to see a movie if you want to text. Maybe there should only be able to text in the very last row. But then I wouldn’t like this because then people might sit there and this is where I like to sit. Kelly – 15 years old

        NO…very rude! Kim 25 year old

        It’s fine until the lights dim but then put it away. I want to know what moving are coming out so don’t do it during the previews. Laura – 26 years old

        Only until the lights dim then turn it off. I paid to watch a movie and don’t want to see texting. Steve – 28 years old.

        • Christiine,

          Thanks for checking. I must admit I am surprised. Everyone knows people and situations where this has happened however no one is admitting doing it?


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    Ron Crane says:

    Texting in the movies! You have got to be kidding! . How rude and inconsiderate. If I am watching a movie do I want to be distracted by the illuminated screen?. WHAT is so important/urgent?
    It is so sad that some people feel the need to be connected ALL THE TIME. Take a break!
    Today while walking to the office, no kidding, I saw a woman,with a coffee cup between her teeth, to free up both hands, so that she could text and walk at the same time.,

  • Merrill,

    I agree with everyone except you. I have asked everyone in my office under 30, and ALL of them (even the most Hi-Tech) said that this is very rude and if tweeting or posting on fb is that important, watch the film at home, not at a film theater….

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    Beverly says:

    The mechanisms may change, but the intent of courteous behavior don’t. Before phones, it was rude to talk to your neighbor and distract other viewers. It’s still rude to distract other viewers, whether it’s talking to someone miles away, or lighting up the room with your phone. It’s not the tweeting or texting that’s rude, it’s the fact that the method causes distraction. If people get real good at braille and can tweet in silence and darkness so that no one else knows they’re doing it, then it ceases to be a distraction, and can be acceptable.

    Then again, the premise of your question is will our norms of rudeness be outdated with the next generation, and we’ve already seen how some have bent (even by our OWN generation, when we’re checking email or the latest headlines while sitting at the dinner table . . . .). Alas.


    Facebook Yoga Teacher Fired For Banning Phones in Class

    July 9, 2012

    A yoga instructor who was hired to teach classes at Facebook in March says she was fired last month for banning students from checking their mobile devices in class.

    SFGate, the website for the San Francisco Chronicle, reported on Monday that 35-year-old yoga teacher Alice Van Ness says her long standing ‘no phone in class’ policy was ignored by one student in particular. Van Ness shot the student a disapproving look and then the student stepped out of the class to complete what she was doing on her device. The student complained to Van Ness’ managers and a couple weeks later, Van Ness says she was fired.

    The fitness employer she worked, Plus One Health Management, allegedly told Van Ness not to say “no” to Facebook employees. A letter Van Ness supplied to SFGate from the company said instructors should “say yes” to students’ requests: “We are in the business of providing great customer service,” said her termination notice from Plus One Health Management. “Unless a client requires us to specifically say no to something, we prefer to say yes whenever possible.”

    The article also says this firing cost Van Ness a yoga teaching job at Cisco Systems.

    Van Ness said when it comes to yoga, checking your Facebook can wait. “We’re not talking about the U.S. government here. We’re not talking about Russia is about to bomb us. We’re talking about Facebook. Something can’t wait half an hour?” she was quoted as saying.

    Facebook declined to comment.

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      Al says:

      “I truly believe the people that are offended by tweeting and texting during a movie are now in the minority – do you agree?”

      I’m going to take a stab at NO. But I’m not 15-25. However, I’d be interested to know the answer to this. Maybe there is a generational divide in attitude towards this.

      But as the old adage goes: there’s a time and a place for everything.

      Movie goers go to the movies to do what?

      When a person is next to you in that type of venue, no, it is not okay to bust out your phone. That venue is designed for the focus to be on the screen. When the person next to you makes noise, or motions, or illumination that person may just very well have intruded on the purchase of the experience of the person next to them.

      And this is not limited to phones. What not to do at the movie theaters:

      Bring a baby
      Keep unwrapping your candy after the movies started
      Kick the back of a seat repeatedly
      Fire off your Glock

      It all falls under the heading of CONSIDERATION.

      When you go to Starbucks, for example, patrons know to expect: people will talk, people will be on phones, people will be on the internet.

      And If what you write, “…that the message of ‘turn off your phone’ will go away very soon and be replaced with ‘please text and tweet all you want” comes true, watch theater attendance drop.

      As for Van Ness, it’s her class, and I believe she has the right for undivided attention if that’s how she structures her class. It’s yoga…not volleyball. It seems that Plus One Health Management is sucking up to lucrative clients. But while money talks, you shouldn’t during a movie.

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    Al says:

    I dunno MD, I think you’re on your own on this one.

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    Amy Shields says:

    Sorry, MD; I’m in agreement with everyone else here – not an appropriate venue at all. While I understand and embrace that we live in a social media driven world, I don’t believe that’s the point. To have a “mobile device on” time before and after the movie is fine, but to ever consider it acceptable during the movie only serves to promote a world which embraces a “me” philosophy. And, it’s not just the fact that it’s completely rude (how is it any different than allowing people to talk – it’s a distraction), it’s also dangerous because the environment is dark and the light is blinding, which could cause someone walking to their seat to stumble, or worse, for someone with epilepsy to have a seizure – often brought on by flashing lights. Further, I think you have to ask, with many Gen Y/Millenials (or Twixters, Choisters, “failure to launch”, “boomerang kids”) opting to consume entertainment online, who should the movie industry be catering to; the recent college grads who, unfortunately, are having to take jobs at minimum wage and are moving back home at alarming rates (thereby having less expendable income than ever before), or the theater-goers who are more apt to spend the ever- exorbitant cost of viewing a movie? I believe that people spending the most at the movies are more likely to embrace good old fashioned manners/etiquette, and are less likely to tolerate an environment that supports, “Yes – please tweet/post/blog away as I try to enjoy something I’ve paid for. Whatever amazing insights you need to share with the world, and that can’t wait to be shared, are more important than the comfort and safety of everyone else.” I just don’t see it happening.

    • Shieldseeeee,

      Clearly you bring up some very good points. I agree that it is a distraction and can effect lots of people. However they are making announcements because lots of people are doing it and MORE want to. In a world of immediacy – answering machines turned into vmail which turned into email than texting and so on. I believe people want to share in real time what they are experiencing at a movie and what they are feeling when they feel it….. Let me ask this do you think producers and movie companies want there customers to respond in real time? I think they do. While I agree that I hope this doesn’t happen – I truly believe it will and very soon.

      Thanks for sharing.

      So far no one has agreed with me at all.



    The Providence Performing Arts Center is embracing social media by setting up “tweet seats” where audience members can discuss the show on Twitter while it’s happening.

    PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Sarah Bertness slipped into her seat at a recent staging of the musical “Million Dollar Quartet” and, when the lights dimmed, started doing something that’s long been taboo inside theaters: typing away at her iPhone.

    The 26-year-old freelance writer from Providence wasn’t being rude. She had a spot in the “tweet seat” section at the Providence Performing Arts Center.

    The downtown theater is now setting aside a small number of seats — in the back — for those who promise to live-tweet from the performance using a special hash tag. They might offer impressions of the set, music or costumes, lines of dialogue that resonate with them or anything else that strikes them, really.

    At “Million Dollar Quartet,” based on the true story of a 1956 recording session that united music greats Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins, PPAC for the first time had cast members tweeting from backstage, too.

    A growing number of theaters, including some on Broadway, have been experimenting in recent years with tweet seats and other real-time uses of social media as they try to figure out the relationship between the stage and the smartphone.

    Some insist the theater should remain a sacred, technology-free place and that allowing the use of phones during a show — even discreetly — only serves as a potential distraction for other patrons. But others say theaters can’t afford not to engage the digital generation, and that the way performances were once enjoyed, in a vacuum, doesn’t hold up anymore.

    “I think that it’s important that PPAC and cultural institutions in general kind of jump on the social media bandwagon and learn to engage a broader audience,” said Bertness, who runs the blog The Rhode Islander and is such a big Johnny Cash fan that she showed up to the performance wearing all black. “I think it’s such a valuable tool.”

    Scott Moreau, an understudy for Johnny Cash, hadn’t ever tweeted from backstage during a performance. He tried to provide a glimpse of what life’s like on the tour, which he likened to the special features on a DVD. He said he enjoyed getting instant feedback from the tweeters — feedback he shared with other cast members.

    “It makes it feel a lot more personal,” Moreau said.

    A picture of Moreau that was tweeted out from backstage — he was tweeting in it himself — prompted someone in the tweet seats to declare that’s what the Man in Black would have looked like with an iPhone.

    Other theaters are also trying different digital ways to engage with patrons. In Boston, the Huntington Theater plans to introduce a “Twittermission” where an artist affiliated with the production, or someone from the theater’s staff, answers questions about the show on Twitter during intermissions. The tweets will also be projected on screens in the theater lobby, according to spokeswoman Rebecca Curtiss.

    The theater won’t be introducing tweet seats, though.

    “We feel strongly that the experience that an audience member has in our theater should be limited to what they are seeing on the stage,” Curtiss said. “When the lights go down and the show begins, we want the art on stage to speak for itself.”

    PPAC isn’t sure yet whether any social media buzz generated by those in the tweet seats will have a measurable effect at the box office. But spokeswoman P.J. Prokop said the theater intends to keep the program through the end of the year, and then evaluate it. Those who sit in the tweet seats get their tickets for free.

    Kirsten DiChiappari, who has tweeted three shows there to her nearly 1,400 followers, grew up in New Jersey going to Broadway musicals, plays and the opera. The 41-year-old social media consultant from Bristol sees her live-tweeting as a way to lure people from their living rooms, where many are glued to “horrible reality television.”

    “It’s kind of a way to tease people back to support the live arts, the real arts, the original arts,” she said. “I feel like once they go, they’ll go again.”

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