Friday, May 05, 2006

I hate phones

That might sound odd considering that I’m surgically attached to my cellphone. But it’s true.

Not so strange if you consider that my phone is a Nokia 6680 Series 60 smartphone with a full suite of PDA functionality including text, email and IM capability; web browsers (plural); media player; two cameras; word processor; spreadsheet; PDF reader and some nifty games. Although I use it often, I seldom use it for actually calling anyone.

When people call me, especially if it’s from a “Private Number” or a number I don’t recognize, I usually won’t answer it. That’s what my voicemail is for. And if they leave a message, I’ll consider calling them back.

I’m seriously considering implementing a policy of not answering it at all unless it’s Heidi.

Even though I have a well-practiced and solid phone manner, when I choose to, I just don’t enjoy speaking to people on the phone. It’s difficult to hear what they’re saying because the sound quality is crap and there are no lips to read. It’s generally uncomfortable.

If the conversation is about details that I am required to remember, it annoys me even more – why should I write down that number or address? Why don’t you write it down, since you already know what it is, and send me the text? I offer multiple channels through which I can receive text-based communication on my mobile device (I have decided to no longer address my 6680 as a “phone” as the term is insulting). It’s not difficult. So why must I mission to find something to write your details down on?

The way I see it, if you have no recorded proof of having given me information, you can assume that I don’t have it. Voice conversations are an inefficient means of communication.

Efficiency isn’t always the sole criteria upon which a communication method is measured. I admit it’s nice to hear Heidi’s voice on the phone sometimes, and I’m looking forward to the day when I’ll be able to video-call her when we’re both stuck in traffic on our respective morning commutes.

But when it comes to transmitting information in a precise, integral and reliable way, or when speed is required, the phone-call is only slightly better than smoke-signals on the scale.

Why… WHY WHY WHY will my project manager pick up a phone and call me to ask me to come to his desk so he can read me an email off the screen of his computer? WHY WHY WHY?

The telephone has its uses, but they are few. Telephone conversations are about as valuable as those “meetings” that stretch on for hours and serve no purpose other than to inhibit the productivity of those involved. In the words of an ex-boss of mine “It’s about as useful as tits on a bull.”

So, consider this a notification: If you want to get hold of me, don't bother calling. IM me, email me or SMS me and you'll get a response.