I sure hope my iPod isn’t reading this post

According to a recent article bashing iPods at work (sniff!) portable music players such as iPods are increasingly showing up on the job, a trend that’s being praised as a boon to productivity as well as criticized as a safety risk and employee distraction.

Furthermore, the article explained: “The use of MP3 players isn’t music to everyone’s ears. While many employees who use the miniature music players believe they help them focus on work by blotting out background noise or revving up their energy, some employers see MP3 players as creating a distraction from work — and a safety and security risk.”


  • 40 million+ iPods have been sold as of January 2006
  • 80% of technical and creative workers listen to music more than 20% of their working hours
  • 20% of management level workers listen to music more than 20% of their working hours
  • 40% of clerical workers listen to music more than 20% of their working hours

    ( – ) MP3 use can be inappropriate in some work settings or can stifle communication because employees may have a hard time catching the attention of a co-worker with ear buds
    (+) iPods = music = motivated employees
    ( – ) Some co-workers may play music through speakers, which can annoy colleagues within earshot
    (+) iPods = podcasts = updates on news = aware employees
    ( – ) iPods can pose a distraction and may prevent the wearer from hearing warning alarms and bells or warnings shouted by co-workers

    I work alone. In my own home. So I guess I can’t really express my opinion on some of those issues. However, I will say that some of the best stuff I’ve ever written has been “under the influence” of my iPod. Personally, I’d go nuts without it. And people don’t want to read articles, books and blog posts from someone who’s nuts. (Or do they…?)

    On the other hand, think about how many times you’ve seen someone walking down the street, working out at the club, riding the bus to work or browsing the shelves of a library…wearing an iPod.

    Unapproachable? Maybe. But most people are smart enough to think, Ok, she doesn’t want to be bothered right now. She’s rockin’ out. I’ll leave her alone. And maybe that’s a good thing inasmuch as iPods give people time to themselves, i.e., commuting, working out, etc.

    I suppose you could always buy one of these AWESOME iPod covers from Shuffle Some. (Thanks to Chief Show Officer for this one.) This design is a visual interpretation of one aspect from my current study about Acoustical Privacy: the iPod as a potential indicator for “non-communication”.

    Through a playful approach the sticker either strengthens the wish for privacy but also offers the opportunity to break up the silence with the direct demand for conversation, says the website.

    But some people, namely those who refuse to remove their iPod earphones while going through security at the airport, for example…just don’t get Ipod Etiquette.

    Folks: it’s not that hard to pull those little white nubs out of your ear and be friendly to someone for 5 seconds. Don’t worry – your iPod won’t be mad at you.

    Although someone waiting in line behind you might be.


    IPods: front porch or back fence?

    * * * *
    Scott Ginsberg
    Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

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