I have seen both of these phenomena, although I don't have anything against either of them per se.

That was a joke, son.

The Mobile Phone Syndrome (i.e. automatically telling the person who called you where you are, even without being asked) is something I have witnessed on countless occasions. It is such a common thing that I had not really thought about it until reading this node - and am probably even guilty of it myself.

Now, having spent some minutes thinking about it, I think I have a reason: we (as mobile phone users) are not yet comfortable with this mobile telephonic communication lark, having had less than 20 years to get used to it. The reason is this:

when someone calls us on a mobile phone, we are aware
that they cannot imagine where we are or what we're doing.

Subconsciously we wish to help others to visualise us by furnishing them immedietly with details of our environment. Hence the unprompted "I'm in the car / on the train / walking down the high street."
It's an ego thing.

Perhaps once we grow out of the idea of telephone conversations happening with the other person always occuring in a set location, this "Syndrome" will cease to be evident - with perhaps the exception of the very old, who may never grow out of their bad habits.

To test this theory, from tomorrow I will be attempting to ask some young mobile-phone-owning children - who have pretty much grown up around mobile phones - how they answer the phone. The two problems with conductiong such a study are:

  1. I'll probably get arrested or beaten up for talking to young kids
  2. Kids with mobiles only ever seem to phone their friends who are hanging around the same street corners and parks as them, and so are often within their line of sight. This means they may not bother imparting this redundant information.