30 April 2010

phones: boooo

boing boing | Mark Frauenfelder | The telephone was an aberration in human development

Rick Webb: "The telephone was an aberration in human development. It was a 70 year or so period where for some reason humans decided it was socially acceptable to ring a loud bell in someone else's life and they were expected to come running, like dogs. This was the equivalent of thinking it was okay to walk into someone's living room and start shouting."
Oh sweet Jesus yes. I couldn't agree more.  I really hope we're at the end of that period, but I'm not so sure.

It's not so much the telephone that's the problem, it's that we've somehow developed this bizarre societal expectation that you must answer your phone whenever it rings. How did screening your calls become a rude thing to do? How did we come to the conclusion that phone conversations must happen if only one party consents? Why do so many people answer their phones just to have short conversations that amount to "I can't talk now, I'll call you later."? Why not just skip the explanation and call them later?

Side note: I had to tell two different guys in the library today to take their phone calls outside. That's sadly typical, despite the building being festooned with "no cell phones in the library" signage. What was weird was that rather than going to the cell-phones-allowed entryway, both guys ended their calls within seconds and went back to what they were doing. What could possibly have been so important that they needed to discuss it in a library, yet so trivial that they could wrap things up on a moments notice and then proceed to ignore it for the next hour or so?

1 comment:

  1. This. So much this.

    I've repeatedly said Alexander Graham Bell was a meddling SOB who should have been executed. We could have gotten along just fine with only the telegraph, and a hundred years of innovation. (Recommended reading: *The Victorian Internet* by Standage.)

    (I realize people other than Bell invented working telephones too. I still believe Bell should have been executed pour encourager les autres.)