“Look, Matt’s lovely, he’s a magnificent, brand new, hilarious, heartbreaking, heroic Doctor - but the fact is, if that man walks into a room with a coffee then it’s only so long before you’re wearing it…..I remember when we turned up for a meeting very early on, and the first thing he did was spill a cup of coffee on a rather lovely woman. Naturally she giggled, flushed and introduced her mother. On the way out he apologized to a completely different woman for the coffee incident. “That was the wrong woman” I said, as he went out the doors. “Nope,” he replied, “That was the second cup”.”—Steven Moffat on Matt Smith being clumsy. (via daisypotts) (via mattsmithshair) (via london67) (via autumnflow) (via theverbalthing) (via nerdyartist)
Clive Thompson’s latest Wired column is about how many people are making fewer phone calls these days, especially among the younger people, who find other means of communication a lot more efficient. As Thompson notes, voice calls are “badly designed,” from a usability and efficiency standpoint:
Consider: If I suddenly decide I want to dial you up, I have no way of knowing whether you’re busy, and you have no idea why I’m calling. We have to open Schrodinger’s box every time, having a conversation to figure out whether it’s OK to have a conversation. Plus, voice calls are emotionally high-bandwidth, which is why it’s so weirdly exhausting to be interrupted by one. (We apparently find voicemail even more excruciating: Studies show that more than a fifth of all voice messages are never listened to.)
The telephone, in other words, doesn’t provide any information about status, so we are constantly interrupting one another. The other tools at our disposal are more polite. Instant messaging lets us detect whether our friends are busy without our bugging them, and texting lets us ping one another asynchronously. (Plus, we can spend more time thinking about what we want to say.) For all the hue and cry about becoming an “always on” society, we’re actually moving away from the demand that everyone be available immediately.
That last point is a really interesting one. One of the “features” of the “always on” society is the fact that we’re actually ending up with better tools for managing our time — and the “old” telephone system really doesn’t fit into that setup. Thompson notes in the piece that he simply won’t answer calls that aren’t scheduled — and I’ve been reaching the same stance lately myself. I actually find it odd when people call me without contacting me first to set up a time to call. If anything, it almost feels “rude.”
Of course, some of this could also be corrected by better technology — such as allowing a phone to indicate some of your status, such as whether or not you’re busy. Better yet, would be a system that automatically built in a scheduling feature if someone wanted to talk to you.
The sooner we move away from phone calls, the better my life will be. A phone call takes way too much time. I have two older relatives that I have to call on a semi-regular basis because they’re not online (I know, right?). I dread making that call. Not because it will be a whopping 15 minute conversation, but because it means I have to schedule a time when I’m up for yakking about bullshit that could just as easily be conveyed in an email. Hell, if they followed me on Twitter, Facebook, FourSquare, or even read my blog (Yeah, I still have one of those for certain things), they’d know what I was up to on a daily basis. I’m sure as hell not going to call on a regular basis, so my online profile is the absolute best way to keep in touch with me. Write on my wall, send a DM tweet, Like something I posted, send an email…just don’t make me call you…please.