'Phone on the table' students: Driven by social status

'Phone on the table' students: Driven by social status

Summary: Have you ever noticed why so many students leave their phones out on display in lectures or classroom seminars? Social status, and it drives us all into negative patterns of behaviour.


Something most particular I have noticed in recent weeks is the spate of smartphones and the innate need to 'show them off' by placing them on any flat surface they can.

It seems BlackBerry users are particularly favoured to putting their phones on the table, whether they are in a seminar, a lecture or even in the pub having drinks, while iPhone users are more careful and seem less likely to.

I put it down to one thing: social status.

Social class and status are key factors to the younger generation, because the power of the consumer market is so great. This isn't new, in fact, as social class has been dominated by varying factors over the years, from cars to houses, and in most cases this still exists.

But technology has become a key conduit in perpetuating the need to differentiate oneself from another through social division by aiming to purchase technology products with a higher price tag.

People will pay to have an illuminated Apple logo on the lid of their laptop, and the same can be applied to the iPad and iPhone. But even further afield, different kinds of mobile device will exert different social impacts.

BlackBerry users, for example, can appear to have a faux business and enterprise feel. It was not long ago that the BlackBerry device was designed solely for those working in the business environment.

Two years ago when I bought a BlackBerry for the sole purpose of using it for work, I was one in a hundred students with one. Now, I am more like one in five.

It's also one of the reasons why cheap Nokia phones are not as popular in the developed market, as who would want to display their cheap phone with more expensive devices being showed off in a classroom seminar?

But now that the 'designated' market for these phones has been broken through in a bid by manufacturers to boost sales and broaden their intended demographics, no one person can be definitively defined as a 'particular kind' of person just by the phone they have.

At the end of it, social status drives us all. But now, the Generation Y are also part of this damaging phenomenon. And whilst it is near impossible to break out of unless all participate, it could go on to perpetuate further idiosyncratic behaviour that is displayed by our older generational counterparts.

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Topics: Telcos, Hardware, Mobility, Smartphones

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  • RE: 'Phone on the table' students: Driven by social status

    I proudly display my Carlos Slim pre-paid burner cell phone -- choice of Cartel members everywhere!
  • RE: 'Phone on the table' students: Driven by social status

    Strange. I thought the reason why I kept my phone in my pocket was that I didn't want the darn thing stolen.
    • RE: 'Phone on the table' students: Driven by social status

      Agreed. Seems like that is asking to get your phone stolen by leaving it out.
      Loverock Davidson
  • RE: 'Phone on the table' students: Driven by social status

    I keep my iPhone holstered because it's too tempting a target for thieves. Who the hell would want to rip off a piece of crap Blackberry?
    • RE: 'Phone on the table' students: Driven by social status

      @gtdworak someone who doesn't want a piece of crap iphone
  • Skinny Jeans

    I'm sure skinny jeans has something to do with it. I don't even know how people fit their feet through the things, let alone keeping a phones crammed in their pockets.

    I usually take the phone out of my pocket so i'm not sitting on it as I keep my phone in my back pocket when i'm mobile. Sure mibjr and Loverock identify theft as a primary concern but I guess I'm either hyper aware or that type of blatant theft isn't so popular here.

    I have to admit though, I immediately thought New York when I saw the collaboration on getting your phone stolen. Typical Californian?

    I haven't really noticed an onslaught of people having their phones out. Haven't really paid attention but I see your point on social status though. I'll probably really notice it now after this post.

    As far as IPhone users doing it less? We'll see about that.
    • RE: 'Phone on the table' students: Driven by social status

      @gergyllaer I agree, looks like skinny Jeans has something to do with it:

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  • So they can keep up with incoming text messages

    Most of my students put their phones on the table so they can glance over and read new text messages as they arrive.
  • My phone a

    SGH-E330 samsung, has survived death may times - being run over, falling out of a cherry picker 20ft, being dropped numerous times, being submerged in many drinks as it slips off the side of the arm chair into coffee etc.<br>Its held together by sellotape..but it works, I can make calls, text. have no need for media players, (got a cheap mp3 player for that), Don't need the web wherever I am to update status' or tweet or find a route, gps etc (I have the internet at home and a proper paper road map) and so on...<br>You maybe sitting there next to me with your iphone or blackberry or some other posh phone out on the table, but try doing what my phone has been though, I doubt yours would last the first round. Also if mine is out on the table I wont be the one being mugged - for me its a phone not a fashion accessory. <br>Cheap and cheerful - tough as old boots, cheaper the phone cheaper the contract with more mins or sim only 30 days.. That's what I care about...<br>Bigger smarter more expensive the phone = smaller the chap between the legs..<br>or what ever the saying is...<br>To be honest i'm after a panasonic toughphone I wonder how long it would take me to destroy

    When I was a student we didn't have the need for expensive phones I thought all students were broke? -- ahh fashion
    • RE: 'Phone on the table' students: Driven by social status

      Some people show their social status by their phone. Other do it by bragging how much they've put it through.
    • RE: 'Phone on the table' students: Driven by social status


      Awesome post, awesome username, kudos.
      • RE: 'Phone on the table' students: Driven by social status

        @OffsideInVancouver Haha - yeah, a very good username.
      • why

        @OffsideInVancouver. Why thank ye kind sirs....One doffs their hat in your direction in a gesture of respect. :)...

        @CptMatt Nahh I show my social status by driving my mini moke to work.. more fun....
  • RE: 'Phone on the table' students: Driven by social status

    There are always those of us who are oncall 24/7 and like to make sure we hear our phones. Or, if I'm in a quiet situation where I have to turn the ringer off, I need to see the screen light up.

    I have a Droid for work, so that one's always out. My iPhone is my personal cell and that's out about half the time. It depends on where I am and what time of day.

    I guess I follow the trend...
    • RE: 'Phone on the table' students: Driven by social status

      "Or, if I'm in a quiet situation where I have to turn the ringer off, I need to see the screen light up."
      <br><br>You never heard of "vibrate"?
      • RE: 'Phone on the table' students: Driven by social status

        @CptMatt Put a phone on vibrate on a table in a quiet area and see what happens... oh yeah IT MAKES NOISE!
  • Who ever believes

    that the type of phone you have shows your social status is probably not worth talking too and is probably rather boring, vain and a complete idiot.
    Buy a cheap phone save your money and spend it being social with your friends in the pub instead of trying to make a statement about yourself with a phone...its just a phone...
  • Blackberry owners are now on the top of the social heap?

    News to me.
  • Loverock proudly displays his Windows Phone 7 all the time

    Oh wait...he doesn't own one...

    "I can't wait to get one"...
    Ron Burgundy
    • Ron Burgundy attempts to display his brain all the time...

      @Ron Burgundy

      [i]Oh wait...he doesn't have one...[/i]