13% of People Pretend to Use Cell Phones to Avoid Other People

By Alexis C. Madrigal

Thank your lucky stars for the Pew Internet and American Life Project. They come out with all kinds of research about the digital divide, how mainstream Americans use the Web, and all kinds of other stuff. But today, they shed light on a truly important phenomenon:

Cell phones can help prevent unwanted personal interactions - 13% of cell owners pretended to be using their phone in order to avoid interacting with the people around them.

If you're of a certain age and position relative to a metro area, you have almost undoubtedly engaged in this practice. And now that Pew has identified it as a national-level behavior, we need to name it. Sarah Rich suggests "dodge dialing." Derek Thompson coined "the cell phone side step." And Becca Rosen likes "phaking." You got a better name? Something's gotta catch on.

Via @lrainey.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/08/13-of-people-pretend-to-use-cell-phones-to-avoid-other-people/243625/