Saturday, July 14, 2018

On Phone Calls and Privacy

In one of my recent sessions with my learner, we discussed a three-minute video from The Wall Street Journal (online) focusing on how voice messages could be more practical than text on Messenger, WhatsApp, Line and other messaging apps. It starts with the fact that phone calls have largely been replaced by text messages and it goes on to the prospect of text messages eventually becoming replaced by voice messages. A phone call, the video says, requires your instant attention. A text message, on the other hand, gives you the leeway to carry on doing what you are tied up with at the moment and the freedom to choose not just what and when to reply but also when to open the message.  This is the reason why texting has become more popular. In a sense, it gives you greater control of your time and privacy. But, according to the video, the microphone icon on messaging apps has slowly gained popularity in many business settings. To some, it could be bothersome to key in every character of their message. What would require a full minute to key in all the characters in 'Please let me know when you'll be available for a discussion on the beta testing of our new inventory system' could be reduced to a quarter of the time and much less mechanical energy. Moreover, in text messages, there is more room for misinterpretation of the emotion or mood that you want to go with your message.

But our discussion centered on how phone calls have all but become classified as a crime. We have put too much weight on our freedom and privacy and upheld respect to the highest level and relegated friendly human interaction. We are now expected to respect others' privacy and time and have agreed to become cautious and hesitant to express our voiced 'pangungumusta' to our friends fearing the receiver would be disturbed and annoyed.

As I have already went semi off-the-grid, I am no longer able to see the life stories of my friends on a daily basis on their 'walls'. Once again, after a very long time, I have been blessed with the ability to miss relations. On my time with Facebook, I barely missed my friends because I knew their lives were just a browser away. And now that I miss them, I am not satisfied with just text chat on Messenger. Shameless as it may sound, I have started feeling the longing to hear their voice. Unfortunately, it seems that many of my friends are still generally in the 'one browser away' time zone. A few would reply instantly and would be very happy to engage in an extended chat, which makes me genuinely delighted. But many still consider it bothersome to drop a line. Surprisingly, contrary to what the video says, we could somehow speculate emotions even through text messages or the absence of which.

It's funny how times have changed.

1 comment:

YOU deserve a holiday!
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