I was once having trouble locating an event cache (my car GPS took me to the wrong spot) so I called a geocacher I knew was at the event for help. He didn’t answer. The call went to voicemail. He never listened to the message. Eventually I found the event and asked why he didn’t answer my call for help. He said he didn’t recognize the number, so he didn’t answer. I was shocked and a bit offended. Admittedly, he was a casual friend, not a close friend, and he did not have me in his address book, so I am sure his phone did not display my name. Still, what if it was something important – police, perhaps, or a close friend or relative who is using a stranger’s phone due to an emergency? Or a fellow geocacher needing a lifeline? I always answer my cell phone, but then I almost never get spam voice calls on my cell phone.
My home phone is another story. At least 90%, maybe 95%, of the calls there are junk calls – salespeople, charity fundraisers, etc. I sometimes answer it, but usually let it ring. However, I can understand why people would let a land line call go to voicemail. The difference with me, though, is that if I let it go to voicemail, I will listen as the person records the message and pick up if it’s someone I know if I can, or I will listen to the message later and return it promptly. Spam callers don’t leave voice messages in my experience.
Texts are yet another story. I don’t have a smart phone. When I first got my cell phone, at least 90% of the texts I got were spam, and they cost me 20 cents each. I got sick of paying for texts I didn’t want so I had texting blocked. I’ve never regretted that decision. Anyone who wants to reach me in text form can do so by email. I’m usually at my computer if I’m not out running, at the gym, driving, or someplace else where I wouldn’t be able to use a cell phone anyway. Besides, texts are too short to be meaningful. If you have something worth saying, say it in full grammatical sentences. LOL and WTF are not meaningful. I know of at least one person I followed on Twitter who said she never responded to emails because normal people only text.
Then there’s email. One correspondent I had never put a subject line on her emails. Since emails without subjects are a sign of of spam, hacked accounts, or a virus attack, I almost never open them. In fact, they go right to my spam folder since I have a filter for that. I just happened to see hers in my spam folder (which I don’t check very often) and decided to check it, even though I assumed it was someone hacking her account. Surprisingly, it contained a legitimate message. I replied to her that it was lucky I saw her email since I rarely see those without subject lines. She seemed amazed and answered “that’s just the way I roll.” (That’s the same answer Arnold Schwarzenegger gave when asked about his philandering, by the way.) Needless to say, our correspondence did not last long. If you want to reach me, call me or email me; don’t text. I won’t get the text or any message that one was sent, nor will you get a message that it didn’t arrive. And if you email me, put a subject line on it so I know it’s really you.
I doubt I’ll change anyone’s behavior since everyone seems to think they’re doing it right and everyone else should conform to them. I suppose I fit that description myself. If you disagree with me, well, there are two more ways to tell me so: you can always fill in that webform here on my blog in the About the Author/Contact link in the top menu or fill in the short (7 questions) survey below (click link). Please share the survey link. I’d like to get as broad a range of answers as possible.