Friday, March 25, 2011

I'm not here right now....

H. Armstrong Roberts/Getty Images, from NYtimes
...but leave a message and I'll get back to you after the beep.

After reading this article on the New York Times (I'm reading as much as I can right now, before they make me pay, and thus I stop reading), I got to thinking about telephone etiquette.  (Also, yesterday TallMan didn't answer his phone for a prearranged call and I got rather pissed at him.)
The article was called "Don't Call me, I Won't Call you" and it was on the topic that most people wouldn't consider news. Most people don't make phone calls these days. I guess its news to some people, and its important for the news media to notice these important cultural shifts, but what I liked about the article was knowing that when I get irked at people who don't use email as the primary communication device I'm not alone.
I have an iphone, and it is a wonderful tool for communication. I can talk to people via gchat, text message, email, or the actual phone. But the only people I call to just chat with are my parents. I might call Knowledge, but changes are she is busy, our phone dates are usually pre-arranged, and video chat dates are just as common. I could call TallMan except that his phone is awful, and he is awful at phones, either it isn't charged, or he is in a location with no reception (stupid AT&T), or he is busy and actually can't talk. To call anyone else I would worry that my call would be an intrusion.

If I feel like dropping someone a line, letting them know I'm thinking of them, I'll send an email or a text. Its less demanding of the other person, but still communicative. What is so interesting about the article, and the way we communicate today, is that we don't call because we assume people always have their phones with them and are busy, yet at the same time we email because we assume people have constant access to their email and so our message will reach them quickly.
Perhaps this is why so many people complain of getting too many emails, and feeling like their inbox is overwhelming them. I'd rather have a full inbox though than my phone constantly ringing, at least with emails you can answer them on your own time, and think about what you want to say to someone before saying it. Interesting that in an increasingly fast paced world I like email because it allows me to think before I speak.

How do you use your phone to communicate? Do you get annoyed when people call you AND when they don't answer your emails promptly? I liked the validation the NYtimes article gave me, I'd like you to add to it please :p

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