A couple of weeks ago, I was riding the subway in Chicago, when a man began a very civil phone conversation using a bluetooth headset. For whatever reason, this annoyed me… and the funny thing is that as I began to ponder why this annoyed me, I began to notice that several people around me seemed to be annoyed with this man too, or where at least paying a lot of attention to him.
Why is that?
I for one was an early adopter of bluetooth and had a headset that I used mostly when driving, or cycling. I liked it, sound quality was decent, fit well, battery life was good, it didn’t look to futuristic, all in all I have no reason to not like them. I haven’t used one in the last couple of years, but I have thought about buying one from time to time.
I think part of my contempt came from society’s stigmatizing of headset users as schmucks. I did a quick google on “Perceptions of bluetooth headset users” and I came up with this article that referenced the attempts by Jawbone to create viral Youtube videos that were supposed to help remove the “Douchebog factor” as the exec put it, from headset users. Hereâ€™s an example of one of them:
I know public cell phone use had a similar entry into society. It left people uncomfortable and cell phone users were also (and still are to a certain extent) classified as d-bags. But there’s something about using that little headset that makes over hearing someone else’s conversations more unnerving. Does holding a cell phone to one’s mouth create some sort of perceived private space, and once that is removed we feel uncomfortable or agitated to hear someone’s conversation? If we can’t see the headset, does that make us even more annoyed, and why? Or is this possibly my subconscious telling me it’s time for me to pony up the cash and buy a Jawbone…
Any thoughts on this? Iâ€™m really interested to hear how others perceive headset useâ€¦ if at all?