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Phones VS Messenger.

October 24, 2006

I have, over the last little while, recieved some flak and some good-natured ribbing from friends related to my detestment of a simple and common piece of technology.

I hate phones. They hate me back. I’m almost afraid of having to deal with people over them. That’s half of the issue.

Why do I hate phones? The first reason is that phones cripple the way I talk. I have an offbeat and unpredictable sense of humour, denoted as such by slight gestures and inflections, unless it’s being dumbed down. Unfortunately, the gestures indicating a joke don’t work on the phone. The same for using facial expression to get the exact tone and meaning of a comment across, or any other nuance of conversation. It just doesn’t work.

The other being that a phone call is the most forced type of conversation you can have. No matter who calls who, once the receiver has picked up, you’ve committed to a Conversaion. You’re in. You can’t get distracted by your surroundings, because they’re not the surroundings of the person you’re talking to. Responses must be immediate, or near to it, ’cause they can’t see you thinking about what they said. Until one of the two excuses themself, you have committed to a conversation. The caller has, for whatever reason, forced a conversation on the call-ee. Until that reason has been dealt with, neither party can leave.

The other half of the ribbing is that I delight in MSN Messenger and eMail. All those folks ask me why I like something that’s just words on a screen, having even less inflection than a phone conversation, even, with the way that I talk and my reasons against phones.

Easy. I can edit, read over what I’ve typed. Make sure that every word is as well chosen as possible, as clear possible. It is an inherently delayed method of communication, and for that reason, I can evade misunderstandings as much as possible through concideration of word choice and the like. Asides, eMail is like a letter – they aren’t forced to respond to it, and you don’t have to respond to them. It’s there, and you deal with it or you don’t. No biggie. MSN is much the same. It’s kinda like running into someone on the street. You don’t have to talk to them if you don’t want to, but – you can if you feel like it. I see Tara online, for instance, I can be all “Hey, Tara. What’s up?” … If she’s available, she’ll talk. If not, she won’t. If I called her – well, she’d be stuck with me on the end of the phone, and I could be interrupting something.

Just as people don’t wander the streets while they’re busy with something, people on Messenger don’t talk if they are busy. And that’s the expectation – it’s no big deal.

My Opinion: a phone forces the other person to interact with you – it’s a very aggressive communication medium. Things like eMail and Messenger are a more passive, an if-you’re-free kinda conversation, and are much more natural because of that.

Tara, I just used you as an example ’cause we talked earlier, and you were still on the brain. No comment on you or talking to you, I just pulled the first name I had.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Tara permalink
    October 25, 2006 8:09 am

    *smiles* I totally agree on the phones thing. They suck. Period.

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