2019-09-23 Phone etiquette

Sometimes we talk to other people about how we use our phones. Here’s what I think future historians need to know:

  1. people don’t us a land line anymore, it’s all mobile phones
  2. the phone is set to silent; having a loud ring is rude
  3. we don’t answer calls by unknown numbers
  4. we search for unknown numbers before calling back (in Switzerland: tel.search.ch)
  5. we never call back if a search indicates a call center

Personally, I have also disabled my voice mail: I don’t want unknown people to leave me messages which I then have to listen to and answer.

The phone world has been poisoned by robot calls and call centers. It’s ads and spam, now. That is, it’s worse than mail because the mail still gets us stuff we ordered online and bills, which we hate but which we still need to pay, or material to cast our votes without going to the polling booth.

The two or three people I know that still feel more comfortable using voice than writing text usually call via encrypted messenger apps. Sadly, that often includes Facebook-owned WhatsApp, but at least in my circle of friends and family we a lot of Threema. Threema isn’t free software, unfortunately, so that isn’t ideal, either. At least it works without me having to upload my address book to those damn servers.

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