10 things I hate about communication in 2011

Published: August 6, 2011
Email

Ever wondered what life was like before we got so dependent on computers?

Yes, we wrote letters that took weeks to reach. We wondered who could be calling when we answered our landlines that had no call waiting or caller ID and left messages on answering machines or voice mail. And as we didn’t write random texts, emails or tweets on the spur of the moment; those of us in school scribbled notes passed around class.

Today, we rely heavily upon email, social networking, text messaging, Skype and mobile Internet browsing to support our daily interactions with our virtual communities. However, these in turn present their own set of grievances:

10. Morons:

Regretting “liking” an acquaintance’s FB status after receiving your 30th ‘beep’ notification of the day. Some moron you don’t know from Adam has commented “LOLZ” beneath the status that you ‘liked.’ Note to self: never comment on a local celebrity’s status or someone who has more than 500 Facebook friends.

9. Prank callers: 

Hang up calls from prank callers hoping you’ll call them back because they’re too cheap to spend a rupee harassing you. The solution? Answer at the first ring and hang up so they get charged (take that, cheapskates!). As for persistent harassers for whom stalking comprises their primary entertainment, inexpensive SIM cards keep them in business to call from different numbers after you keep getting them blocked. It’s an uphill battle.

8. General cheapness:

“For a good time call Rabia Jaan” phone card scams. There must be some desperate losers out there who fall for it (prank callers, we hope) for there to be so many of these text messages floating around that reportedly siphon off pre-paid balances.

7. Chain mail:

Yet another chain message on email and BBM cursing us with 7 days of bad luck if we don’t forward the asterisk filled message to 7 people in the next 7 minutes. Or it could be a religious chain message damning us to hell if we don’t forward it to 10 people in 10 minutes. And we continue to get them, despite apologies from senders who are too superstitious to not succumb to the empty threat at the bottom of the message or the promise of being ‘kissed’ by their true love. Ugh.

6. Scams:

You’ve won a billion pounds in the lottery, now hand over your account number, you unsuspecting dimwit. Sigh. So annoying.

5. Spellings:

Text messages about “tution” centres and “exulusive” exhibitions are hardly impressive when they can’t even get their spellings right.

4. Network issues

Number blocking services (like Mobilink’s 420) is a God send in theory but a nightmare in reality. Forget about the labyrinth like menu— I have been subscribing to it for over two weeks and they’ve been unable to block a single number that persistently sends grammatically challenged texts at the unwelcome times of 8am and 11pm daily. Not only that, but every time I complain about it, my network explains that they are looking into it and will call me back except they have been unable to get through to my number all week. “And whose fault is that,” I say not too sweetly, “It’s YOUR network!”

3. Server issues:

The server is “down” because:

a) PTCL is taking several months to lay new cables and didn’t bother alerting subscribers.

b) It rained for all of five minutes, which is what it takes in Pakistan to disrupt everything from WAPDA to PIA to cable TV to roads.

2. Mass messages:

Mass Eid messages from people who send them to everybody on their list yet expect a personalized reply. I love getting all the love, but, really? We may be too lazy to buy cards, sign them in our handwriting and snail mail them, but we can at least personalize a text message or e-card, can’t we?

1. Lies:

Since Facebook and Twitter are blocked on our so-called Smartphones, let’s rename them Fundophones.

At least we know what to expect.

laleen.khan

Laaleen Khan

An international columnist and media consultant who Tweets @laaleen

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.