Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘communication

Why Are Withheld Numbers Allowed?

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It's Me!

Recently I started to receive a series of silent telephone calls.  Sometimes the caller would ring off as soon as I answered.  On other occasions  it would be some time before my line cleared.  It’s happened to me before as it has to most of us.  What makes me angry though is when you dial 1471 and find out that the caller was from a withheld number.

At one time I’d have assumed – no, correction – I’d have known that it was a deranged ex-girlfriend but not any more.  I’ve cleared all that sort of dross out of my life.  Now it could be one of those dreadful automated telemarketing computers which all sorts of otherwise reputable companies seem to think are an acceptable business tool.  I don’t.  I think they’re pretty much akin to an offensive weapon.

But why, oh why are withheld numbers allowed at all?

What possible reason or excuse can there be for allowing anyone to make anonymous telephone calls?  We have the technology.  Caller ID is now virtually universal.  What possible justification can there be for anyone to hide the number they’re calling from?  If they’re initiating the communication,  whoever they are, why should they be able to hide their identity?

So I thought I’d take advantage of BT’s “Anonymous Caller Rejection” service.  Now, I’m probably going to have to cancel it because so many people are having difficulty getting through to me.

First it was my electricity supplier.  Then it was a government department that I was doing some writing for.  Then it was my MP’s secretary who comes from the doctors’ receptionists charm school and was quite affronted, told me off even, that my phone won’t accept anonymous calls.

Sorry, Wrong Number!

Just what is it that makes these (mostly) rational people and organisations think it is acceptable to contact me anonymously?  Would they send me anonymous letters or emails or arrive at my door and refuse to identify themselves?

No, of course they wouldn’t.  It would be entirely wrong and it is entirely wrong to use anonymous or withheld telephone numbers too.

Generally I’m opposed to laws.  We have far too many already but in this instance we should legislate.  It’s ridiculous, deceptive, dishonest and unnecessary yet many of our biggest organisations and institutions do it as matter of course.

It’s unacceptable and it should be stopped.  Ban withheld numbers now!

Facebook – It’s A Snide, Snide World

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I don’t know the name of the geek from Facebook who said that he wanted everyone on the planet to become a member of his website but he follows Adolf, Joseph, Benito, Francisco and other tyrants in having ambitions that must be thwarted at all costs.

Let me be clear, yes, you can find me on Facebook.  It’s true, with nearly half a billion members it is difficult to ignore it.  I use it to publicise this blog to as wide an audience as possible.  You can call me a hypocrite if you want but I don’t and won’t participate in the snide, puerile and thoroughly unhealthy relationships and lifestyle that it promotes.

Is This The Real Life Or Is It Just Fantasy?

If there are nearly a half a billion members on the site there must be at least a billion virtually identical photographs that consist of two or three faces (usually inane blondes at a party) pressed together cheek to cheek with vile grimaces or smiles.   If it’s supposed to be about individuals why does everyone look exactly the same, talk exactly the same and behave exactly the same?

There are now an extraordinary number of sad, dysfunctional people who live their life, vicariously and actually, on Facebook.  This, I believe, should be of great concern to all of us.  More than that, the site encourages behaviour that is dishonest, underhand and snide.  It’s not a force for good.  It’s a force for evil.  It’s a perversion and abuse of the internet, probably mankind’s greatest ever invention.

You know the sort of person who’d rather text than make a phone call?  It’s often very dishonest communication, the ideal way for a coward to make excuses, lie or deceive.  It’s said that 80% of communication is non-verbal and you certainly get a lot of that extra meaning over the phone.  You get none at all by text.  It’s just the bare, badly, carelessly or deceptively chosen words. Facebook goes even further, it encourages members to post messages and pictures so that they’re seen by third parties as well.  In fact, often the message or picture is posted mainly for their benefit, to embarass or annoy.  This is the real wickedness.  It’s already led to murders and countless, countless, arguments and disputes which have ended in violence.  Of course, it depends on you.   You or your friends can behave badly through any medium or face to face.  The point is Facebook encourages you to be snide.  It’s not nice.

I don’t know what the answer is.  I certainly wouldn’t be encouraging children to use it.  For many it’s already become a substitute for real life.  Its most well known deficiency is the way it makes you collect an ever greater quantity of friends with no regard whatsoever for quality.  My sons and all their real world friends have in excess of 1,000 Facebook friends.  I have 24 so that must make me – what?

There’s no doubt that there are business opportunities presented by Facebook. With that many members there’s bound to be.  In that context it’s not surprising that Cheryl Cole has 1,698,477 friends.  Mind you, Paul Macartney only has 11!

So I’ll be staying on Facebook but I won’t be participating in it.  I think it should have a big warning flash up on the screen every time you log in: “GET A LIFE”