This is mostly for my co-workers, but really applies to anyone trying to contact me. “But who would want to contact you,” you ask. Good question, but you’d be both surprised by the number of people who need to reach me on a daily basis and how bad they are at doing it. Here are the worst to best ways to contact me:
15. Morse Code – Dot, dot, what?
14. Pony Express - Or any sort of delivered mail (horse or not). By this point in my life, I know the size and shape of all my bills, so whatever does not fit into that size and shape goes into a pile never to be looked at again. Bills go into a smaller separate stack to be looked at… someday.
13. Email - I used to be pretty good at checking email until years of signing up for various services and purchases made online have turned my email into a wasteland.
12. Twitter DM - Direct Messaging on Twitter works great if working great is to let spammers auto message me to tell me how much they’re looking forward to my Tweets. Sometimes they use my name and that makes me feel special.
11. Office Phone - For reasons unknown when answering my office phone I forget both how to use a telephone and how to hold basic conversations. Most phone calls follow thusly: Um…. uh… what… um… yeah… um… uh… um… what?
10. Facebook Message - There’s usually, at least, 30 new messages to me whenever I log onto Facebook, and I’m far too lazy to read 30 different messages in a row. If it’s important they’d send a Twitter DM.
9. Facebook Post - Same as above, but a post instead. Honestly, I might respond better to a poke because that, at least, would display on my screen until I do something about it. But then again my only response would be, “What kind of pervert would poke me.”
8. Cell Phone - A cell phone call is a little better because only VIPs have my cell number, but I rarely either have my ringer on or near my person. Most likely neither.
7. Tweet - This has become one of the better ways to contact me. It won’t be timely, but if you @ me then I will see it, and if it’s relevant, funny, or important I may even respond.
6. IM - An Instant Message should be great but my work computer has no sound and sometimes I don’t notice it blinking on the bottom. And also I don’t like you very much, so if I see it’s you, it’s easy to ignore.
5. Text Message - I like a Text Message because if I ignore it or don’t notice it, it’s not that big a deal if it takes me a half hour to respond.
4. Candygram - I do like candy. I like people giving me candy. And I probably would read most messages attached to candy. I would also respond to Singing Telegrams.
3. Smoke Signal - While I cannot read or understand smoke signals, I do respond quickly to fire and the danger thereof.
2. Paper airplane or Nerf football - Throwing something at my head is sadly the second most effective method to gain my attention. Although, it does come with a retaliation to be named later.
1. Turn around and ask me
Why do they IM me when talking to me is so damn easy (and enjoyable). Just today I got an “Iz u comcom b roken er sumting?” It was not. And maybe I'm just an old man with his “verbal skills” (which is untrue because I talk like Mushmouth from Fat Albert), or maybe I just haven't completely jumped on the technological bandwagon. I got my first cellphone only three years ago. But why has tweeting me questions about what I would like to eat for lunch replaced asking me? Is it because it's easier? Do nimble fingers exert less energy than vocal chords? Some pundits will blame the dependence on new technology combined with the erosion of social skills creating a hyper advanced but socially retarded society. We are the apes on this Planet of the Apes. We didn’t blow it all to hell, we tweeted it all to hell.
But nope, that’s not it. The reason is distance. Our willingness to travel distances has changed the way we communicate. And one aspect is the simple distance of walking over to a desk... 10 feet is way too far. As a licensed and bonded couch potato, I totally get this. But new technology actually makes it possible to travel farther to travel shorter. The distance accomplished through any form of digital
communication is breathtaking. Cell phones are not popular because man can be mobile while holding a phone, but because man can travel such great distances without moving at all. If you call someone from a desk away, your phone call isn't beamed to his or her phone. It goes from your cell phone to a relay tower, to a satellite in outer space, to another tower, then to a cell phone one desk away from you. It creates invisible beams of accomplishment. An IM doesn't travel from computer to computer in a office (unless you have an intranet setup), but through miles of cable outside your building. Which all causes some strange feeling of joy. It’s like some sort of achievement for sending a message as far possible with as little actual movement involved. This must be what it felt like when TV remotes were first invented. Excelsior.
No movement, no effort, but so many gears need to spin just right to deliver a single Text Message. A simple “hello” becomes a virtual marathon, thousands of miles are traveled and space itself is penetrated, transforming a greeting into an exodus.
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