Truly Epic Mobile Phone Faux Pas

Written by on November 14, 2012 in Technology - No comments | Print this page


We’ve all been in a situation where the rush of embarrassment or shock has taken over our bodies, leaving us in a cold sweat, because of something that we’ve said or done. The social faux pas is one of the worst situations to be in, and has been the source of material for comedians and filmmakers for decades, because they know that everybody has been there, and everybody will feel the pain when it happens.

Award winning writer and comedian Ricky Gervais has used the aftermath of a social faux pas in almost all of his comedy, from David Brent’s cringe worthy attempts to be liked being misconstrued as a racist or offensive in The Office, to Andy Millman’s attempts to integrate himself into the world of celebrity in Extras. He knows that most people would prefer death to the social faux pas, and Gervais is well aware of it.

“I love excruciating social faux pas,” he told Time Out magazine. “I’m fascinated by body language, by ego, vanity, men as boys – all these great rich themes that you can get your hands dirty with.”

The Technological Evolution of the Social Faux Pas

One of the greatest inventions in the technological age is the ultimate tool for an epic social faux pas: The mobile phone. We’ve all been there; sent a message to the wrong person, called an ex when a little intoxicated and various other mistakes of varying levels of disgrace and embarrassment. And now, with the evolution of smart phones meaning that all our lives are collated into this handheld device, it means that even more faux pas are available at any time. Our social media, our emails… They’re all right there to be made a source of embarrassment, guilt and regret.

When you say something that is incredibly stupid, or could be misinterpreted as offensive, it is truly horrible. The only silver lining is that you are right there in the moment, and able to dig yourself out – or further into – a hole. The mobile phone faux pas is much, much worse, because you have all of those minutes, hours, days and potentially weeks before you see that person again, and it can seem like a lifetime. It can send you crazy, thinking of all the things you could say to make it better again; all the explanations and scenarios of how it could play out when your paths cross. It’s an excruciating wait.

Here’s a look at the five biggest social faux pas that mobile phone users can make:

The Drunk Text

There should be a moment in the night where a mobile phone should be turned off or taken as far away from the owner as humanly possible. When we’re intoxicated, we can get emotional, stupid, aggressive, all kinds of different emotions – and all of them heightened. How many times have you woke up after a heavy night, checked your phone, and then groaned. Checking your call list and text messages can be like reading somebody else’s diary: embarrassing, guilt ridden and regretful. The worst thing about it though? This all came from you!

The repercussions of a drunk text can be gargantuan. Sending a drunk text to your Mum that was meant for your boyfriend; that is something you never want to do, but there will be a giant list of people who have done it, or at least a variation of that error. It’s likely that most people will forgive anything when alcohol is involved in proceedings, but some faux pas just can’t be forgiven.

The Social Media Update… About Work

There have been some famous examples of people who have Tweeted or posted a status on Facebook about a horrible boss or people they work with, only for it to spectacularly backfire and – in some cases – lead to a dismissal. It’s astonishing really that people still make this error, but they do, in their droves. The social network has made people – particularly young people – trigger happy with broadcasting updates on every aspect of their lives, and mobile phones and smartphones have just made it even easier and quicker to do so. Tweeting or posting a status is an instantaneous thing now: You think it, you post it. Sometimes without thinking. And that’s when the trouble can start.

A great example of a social media update that was the downfall of an employee came back in 2009, when a girl posted a FB update about her ‘pervy boss’, forgetting that she had befriended him on the site. This lead to a cringeworthy – but amazing – reply to the status that highlighted a) The ‘pervy’ boss was actually gay, b) The girl was terrible at her job and c) She no longer had a job. It was broadcast across the internet and became a sensation. Painful. Painful. Painful.

Posting anything online about work – whether that be pulling a sickie, slating a boss or colleague, revealing your love for the girl on the next desk – is a massive no no. The worst things that can happen include ending up having a meeting with HR and getting a P45 in the post. But sometimes getting away with it is worse, because it means you actually have to face the people again – and on a daily basis. It’s probably a good idea to keep business and pleasure separate when it comes to the social network!

Don’t Post Those Embarrassing Photos…

If you’re the kind of person who gets more than a little trigger happy with their Instagram account, and takes photos of every aspect of their lives and posts it online, make sure you censor yourself. We all like to have fun and take photos of ourselves whilst out and about, but knowing the difference between what is personal and what should be shared is important.

Without wanting to sound too much like a grown-up, filling your social networking accounts with nights of drunken debauchery could hurt your chances of being employed, or being taken seriously when it comes to employment. Most companies actively say that they check the social networking exploits of their employees, and being met with hundreds of drunken night out photos is probably not going to fill them with confidence or give them a positive opinion of you as a person.

Drawing a line between business and pleasure is important, so keep your party photos for you and your friends, and give your online presence a classier vibe.

This is a guest post.  Daley lives for technology and his iPhone 5 is one of his best friends. He enjoys writing about mobile phones and how to use them responsibly.

Image courtesy of stockimages /


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