De – Cell – Aration.

Jan 10

Our Cellphones. We carry them with us everywhere. No matter where
people are, what they are doing. In church, on a forest walk, in the
bathtub .. never are they without their little mobile companion that
lets them speak to the world and lets the world stay in touch with
them. This little box with 10 digits gives them the combination to Dial
almost anyone in the world and set up a 2 way full duplex
conversation. When you think of the medium per-é its a pretty crappy
job. The technology of the telephone is over a hundred years old, and
all you end up with is a medium quality conversation (voice only) with
the other person. Sure, sending text messages (with that 10-digit
keyboard) and even shooting a little picture and sending it over the
air .. those are possibilities that have popped up over the years.. But
when you think of it : Cellphone communications are primitive, limited
and (when you have an international posse) very expensive.

over the last few weeks I have done a little experiment.
I configured
my voicemail to give out the message that people could leave a
voicemail, but would be better off sending me an email that would
arrive on my blackberry instead.  (The cellphone number of my
blackberry is fairly unknown to most people, so I don’t get a lot of
direct calls on there) Next I turned my personal cellphone to "Silent",
plugged it in the charger .. And left it there.

We are now 3
weeks into the experiment
and the number of missed calls on my personal
(parked) cellphone have decreased dramatically. The number of emails I
receive on my blackberry, from people who would otherwise just ring my
cell, have increased. Sure there are some messages left on the
voicemail (even the occasional SMS) but after being unable to ring me a
few times people get the general idea they need to send me an Email if
they want to get in touch with me.

The trick here is to reply to
those emails immediately
( Even if its only an ‘OK i got your message’)
so people know they can reach you that way. And by persisting in this
way of handling my personal communications, I’m slowly but sure
shifting my ‘com chatter’ from the analogue to the digital.

cool thing is that this behaviour swings both ways.
More and more do I
use the Internet to communicate to people who are otherwise not in my
"digital circle". Sure , my podcasting buddies, twitter friends and my
extended "Internet family" have been used to communicating via Email
and other digital means with me. The problem was my "analogue circle",
people who saw me face to face regularly, used to be able to ring me on
my cell for some support, some question or just to chat. People like
ones mom, ones close family.  By persisting in this use of my personal
cellphone they are slowly but surely switching over to the digital

My Blackberry (bless the device) is doing all it can to
facilitate this.
The push email option from my Inbox to my cellphone
makes that Email is now THE fastest way to get in touch with me. Nyana
and I rarely speak on the phone and do 90% of our over the air
communications via the web. I have also installed my twitter client,
turning my twitter feed into a direct medium as well. Direct messages
get pushed to the blackberry and I see entire conversations beginning
to evolve over Twitter. There is of course Googletalk (the blackberry
client) as a direct message channel and I need to get MSN Messenger on
there too. (i would love to have SKYPE for Blackberry, not for voice,
but just to chat to my Skype posse). 

But the one application
that has brought the "analogue circle" closer to my digital realm is ..
Facebook !
Adding close friends and family to Facebook AND installing
the Facebook App on my Blackberry has made a big difference. Wall posts,
comments, direct messages.. They all get pushed to my Blackberry and
give me the option to reply right away. That way we found out that my
sis – in – law was looking for a new home for Kira the cat. I saw the
update, replied and 20 minutes later we had setup an appointment to go
and pick her up .. All from my Blackberry.

So : Who needs a
cellphone anyway.
Its embarrassing to use in public, quality is shitty ,
its very very expensive and I don’t like it one little bit. If you
really want to get hold of me .. You know where to go. Now put down the
phone and get behind your computah !



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