From a Rhizome thread:

Why is the loss of email and TV reception met with frustration and near-hysteria, but cell phone signal loss is met with, at best, mild aggravation and more often than not, if you think about it, mild relief at the outside interruption of what was a (good but) banal conversation? What are the statistics on resuming conversations following a signal loss? What does this say about the flexibility of our habituations?

Well, that’s easy: we control the time of TV and email but not of telephones. You’re supposed to answer the phone when it rings. No one expects you to answer, or even read, an email instantly.

The first time I didn’t answer my phone when it rang was when my baby was born. No way was I going to interrupt breastfeeding or lullaby-singing or changing a nappy to answer a nagging phone! My sister-in-law was appalled. She truly felt that one has a moral obligation to pick up a ringing phone. No matter who was calling.

I still ignore the phone if it interferes with reading a bedtime story to my daughter, or I’m doing something else important, and I turn it off sometimes – but though I feel little guilt at that, I feel absolutely none at doing the same with my mobile.

And I love SMSes. They’re polite. They wait for you to have time. You can send them and know that you’re not interrupting. And you can answer them instantly if so inclined.

1 Comment

  1. pedabloggy

    network coocooning
    It’s interesting how we have different relationships with different networks, as Jill, in fading signals describes. Often I need to escape all incoming signals, not just the spam (spam of various mediated flavours). As a result, a lot of my…

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