Monday, June 22, 2009

562 Hi, It's Me

562 "Hi, It's Me."

Ah yes, another way technology changes our thinking and behavior. Well, not technology, but the way we use it and consider it.

Two radio announcers are attending an event. "A" has not seen "B" in several years and B's appearance has changed radically. B approaches A and greets him by name. At first, A doesn't recognize B, but then he hears the voice and does. B's appearance changed, but his sound didn't. Some of us call this capacity "disc jockey ears." It's something people enamored of sound acquire -- or already have when they reach adulthood.

But not everyone has disc jockey ears. And we have developed a way of greeting people on the telephone by saying "Hi, it's me." Okay if it's someone you talk with often. Not so okay if it's someone who is not a telephone regular.

In the past several months "Hi, it's me" calls or voice messages have come in from a fair number of people. Two adult children, three former colleagues, a near neighbor an employer and two complete strangers.

The kids are easy enough to recognize. The colleagues and the neighbor, not so much. And what of the strangers?

We've slipped into this sloppiness over the past decade or so and it's not going to change, but it should. (Ought the first stone be thrown from this blog? Probably not.)

Caller ID goes a long way to solving the problem of who "me" is. You may know only one person, for example, in Oklahoma. So when the caller ID shows a 405 area code, you kind of know who it is. If your caller is in your electronic phone book and when the phone rings it shows "Candy LaZonga," you pretty well can expect that Candy LaZonga is on the other end of the line.

But a lot of calls show "restricted" or other words that tell you the caller doesn't want to be identified. So when that pops up, or a number with which you're unfamiliar pops up and the message starts "Hi, it's me!" ... then what?

How tough is it to say "Hi, Joe, it's Bob...." Maybe that's too many syllables. "Hi, it's me" is three syllables, while "Hi, Joe, it's Bob" has four. Maybe Bob could say "Bob here," -- even shorter -- and continue the message.

The chief worry in this circumstance is telemarketers; many have learned to work around the "do not call" list.

When the cable company calls and leaves a message that starts "Hi, it's me..." you're likely to try to figure out who "me" is while listening to the rest of the message. And that means you listen to the rest of the message, which is what "me" wants.

It's time to fight this menace. Or to put the song "You Don't Know Me" on your outgoing message.


--Disc jockey ears isn't the only condition of its kind. There also is "TV Eyes." With this ability, you have the power to identify people who've changed their appearance by simply staring at them.

I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.®
©WJR 2009

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