SNEWS Reader Poll: Some of us really need a cell-phone intervention

How often do you put your mobile phone down during the day? Results of our mini-survey reveal that some of our industry friends are in need of a cell-phone intervention. You're leaving the phone on and making yourself available 24/7.... Really?

There is no doubt it is getting ever harder to simply disconnect. Consider that a recent survey of its members by the CTIA (the official trade association of the wireless telecommunications industry) revealed that approximately 285 million people in the United States are mobile subscribers -- just about 91 percent of the total population. That’s up 15 million subscribers over last year.

Those 285 million callers used 1.12 trillion minutes of talk time in the last half of 2009, up 3.4 percent for the same period in 2008. That breaks down to an average of 6.1 billion minutes used per day, or about 21 minutes per person per day. Like we said -- it’s getting harder and harder to disconnect.

When NFI Research released a survey of senior executives and managers in early March, it showed that on a typical day, 36 percent kept their mobile phone turned on and with them at all waking hours of the day and only 53 percent managed to step away from their mobile tethers for more than an hour.

This got us wondering just how connected, or disconnected, our own supposedly very healthy outdoor and fitness industries would be in comparison. We, apparently, hit a nerve because the response to our mini-survey was overwhelming. And what it revealed is, frankly, somewhat disturbing.

Nearly 40 percent told us their mobile phones were on all the time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week and that they considered themselves always available. That explains the retail executive who answered his mobile phone the other day when we called while he was on a hike, racing off the mountain to avoid a storm. Or the CEO who answered his phone several years ago while on a sailboat, on the deck, amid clinking glasses and laughter which he explained was a party for his wedding anniversary. And don’t even get us started on all those folks we encounter who feel compelled to carry on conversations while in the bathroom. Are we so eager to be connected we can’t ever disconnect? Really?

We asked folks if any had more than one mobile phone, with one designated only for work since that seemed to be a reasonable way to provide work and home boundaries. But only 3 percent answered "yes." Our responses came from all walks of professional life.

Don’t miss our new survey question: Since the Boy Scouts of America marks its 100th anniversary this year (Girl Scouts turn 100 in 2012), we want to know if you have ever been a Boy Scout or Girl Scout?

To make your vote count, simply go to the SNEWS Reader Poll section in the right navigation bar of every web page in SNEWS or, click here

To see all our past surveys and results, go to,


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