Wednesday, July 16, 2014

How To Contact Owen - 2014 Edition!

I get a lot of flak from people who complain that I'm difficult to get hold of. What they really mean is that I can't be reached in the ways they like to contact people.

What those people seem to fail to realise is that my communication tools are for my convenience, not theirs. But since I'm atypical in my use of those technologies, I'm prepared to educate people on how to reach me. It also changes from time to time, so I may have to make this an annual primer. Here goes the first one.

Telex not supported

If you need to get a short message to me right now:

Google+ Hangouts. Add me to your Google+ circles and you can send me a Hangouts instant message any time. Hangouts sends your message to me, regardless of where I am or what device I'm using at the time. If I'm able to look at a device, I'll get your message.

If you don't have a Google+ account, or you prefer not to use Hangouts, you don't get to send me an instant message.

You can try sending me an SMS if you like (if you're one of the few people who actually has my phone number). But since SMSs only go to one of my devices, odds are smaller that I'll see it any time soon. And since SMSs cost money to send, and I use a prepaid SIM that's often not loaded up with airtime (I generally convert all my airtime to data bundles), odds are even lower that I'll respond to it.

If you need to get a long message to me right now:

Email. All my communication devices are connected to my Gmail, and can pull down email messages for me in real time. If I'm near a device, I'll get it. Whether you send to my personal, STARFLEET or work email addresses, it all goes to the same inbox, so I'm equally likely to see a message sent through any of them.

I don't necessarily read every email as it comes in. But I will check my notifications every now and then to see if there's anything important/urgent.

Smoke signals also not supported

If you need to send me a short message, but don't mind waiting a few days for me to respond, if ever:

Google+ Hangouts or Facebook Messenger. I use Facebook exclusively for work, so I won't respond to personal messages there... They'll just go ignored.

And I also only log in on days when I'm working, so I'll only see your message when I'm at work.

So use Google+ Hangouts rather, but if it's work-related, Facebook is fine.

If you need to talk to me by voice or video:

Google+ Hangouts. I won't answer random calls though. You'll need to make an appointment first using IM or email.

If you're one of the people who has my phone number, same rule applies: no appointment, no answer. And don't bother leaving a voicemail message either... I'll never listen to it. I also won't call you back.

If it's an emergency:

Google+ Hangouts. If I can't see or respond to a message in Hangouts, I can't see or respond to any other messages either. When checking my new messages, I always check Hangouts first, before checking anything else.

But really ask yourself: if it's an emergency, am I really the one you should be contacting? If your car's broken down, your house has been burgled or your computer exploded, I'm not the one who can help you with those things. Try emergency services or Dial A Nerd.

If you want to send me a joke, chain email or cool link:

Strip-O-Grams also not supported
Post it on Google+ and share it with me by name. I'll take a look within a few hours, if not immediately. If I like it, I'll reshare it. If you send me a chain email (or their social media equivalents), I know I need to block you. I don't reshare stuff sent to me via email or Facebook (unless it's work-related, of course).

If you want to see me in person:

Show up at the club during any of our Open Sessions.  I'm almost always at the counter, or at least in the building somewhere.

Outside of club Open Sessions, you'll need to make an appointment via email or Hangouts to see me. If my doorbell rings unexpectedly, I won't even get up to see who's there.

Things to use if you want to make sure I'll never get your message:

  • WhatsApp
  • Skype
  • Voicemail
  • Twitter
  • Fax
  • Telegraph
  • Yo
  • Anything after 23:00 and before 08:00 everyday. My devices all go to sleep mode during those hours, and I don't hear notifications.
And before you ask: there's no point trying to persuade me to change my position on the use or non-use of these systems. I almost certainly know more about them than you do, and I've very carefully arrived at my decision not to use them. Some of them I feel so strongly about (WhatsApp and voicemail, for example), I'll probably get very angry and rude about it if you even try.

Rule of thumb:

If you want to get me a message, Google+ Hangouts is the way to go. Email is a solid second choice. Phoning me will almost certainly fail.

No guarantees (added 2014-07-23)

There's an important point I forgot to make here originally, so I'll throw it in now: Just because I've received your message, that by no means guarantees that I'll respond to it.

I respond to most things that I think need a response, but not all. If I don't want to have the conversation with you, I just won't. If you've been waiting for ages for a response from me, odds are you won't be getting one.

If you really want me to respond to your message, here are some things to consider doing:

  • Make the conversation interesting;
  • Bribes. Cash and/or HeroClix figures accepted.
Threatening, badgering or otherwise nagging me won't improve your odds of getting a response. In fact, they'll only improve your odds of getting blocked and never hearing from me again.

If you think I'm being unnecessarily harsh or restrictive in my communications policies, I refer you to the second paragraph of this post: " communication tools are for my convenience, not [yours]." I don't feel obliged to be available to everyone 24/7 in a hundred different ways. If you want me to take the time to have a conversation with you, it's up to you to approach me in the ways I prefer, and to make it worth my time to respond.

If I need to contact you, I'll try to use the ways you prefer, and to make it worth your while too.

It kind of baffles me that this doesn't go without saying. Are we all so accustomed to being connected to each other, that we've forgotten the basic notion that a person's time belongs to them? And that if we want some of it, we have ask politely for it?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing such a nice post with full information. here is a IT Company which provides best IT Hardware Solutions and Hardware Maintenance Services Call now to get free assessment @ (+27) 087 701 0195.