15 February 2015


Lies, damned lies and marketers' statistics? UK telco O2 has announced that "Brits are a Nation of Eavesdroppers", claiming -
  • Over 80 per cent of Brits admit to eavesdropping on other people’s phone conversations while on a train or platform 
  • Nearly 9 in 10 think that people have no reservations while talking on the phone in public 
  •  60 per cent of Brits think people would benefit from some kind of etiquette guide when it comes to talking on the phone whilst using public transport 
Never fear, the oh so generous O2 has produced what it describes as "the very first public transport mobile phone etiquette guide to help Brits use their phone considerately".

The research - of course no specifics about size of the population or other potential bias supposedly reveals -
we are a nation of eavesdroppers, with 84 per cent of people admitting to listening in on their fellow commuters’ phone conversations while on a train or platform.
The discussions taking place can be so intriguing that six out of ten (59 per cent) Brits would rather eavesdrop than listen to music or read.
Furthermore, 10 per cent of respondents have actually missed their stop because they were so engrossed in what they were overhearing. ...
The survey revealed that callers often unwittingly reveal some of the most intimate details of their lives to perfect strangers around them – everything from the details of their salary through to their personal lives.
Top 5 phone conversations most likely to be overheard
  • Discussing work gossip or salary (48 per cent) 
  • Closing an important business deal (35 per cent) 
  • Talking about hospital or doctor results (23 per cent) 
  • Relationship breakups (17 per cent) 
  • Intimate details of their personal life (13 per cent)
As a result of overhearing something they shouldn’t have, almost three quarters (74 per cent) of people admitted to sharing the conversation with their friends, with 40 per cent going as far as publishing a social media post revealing the details.
So, 33% of Britons on public transport are posting on SNS about what they overhead? Really? Posting once in a lifetime, once a year, once a day?

O2 goes to claim that
Despite this, a small but significant attention-seeking 6 per cent of people actually like the idea that other people can overhear their conversations.
Only 14 per cent decide to ask their caller to call them back to avoid having to talk loudly on the train, while three quarters (75 per cent) decide to take the call regardless.
Consequently, 88 per cent of the British public believe that people have no shame while talking on the phone, and 3 out of 5 Brits (60 per cent) believe we would benefit from some form of etiquette being put in place regarding phone use on public transport.
88% of people think that their peers have no shame but 80% exempt themselves from that shame? Will they be guided by that "very first public transport mobile phone etiquette guide to help Brits use their phone considerately"?

Where is this coming from? "O2 commissioned the survey to help the UK use apps such as TU Go, which enables O2 customers to text, call and check your voicemail over Wi-Fi without the need for phone signal, in a considerate and responsible manner". Just another marketing exercise.